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


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Suspense Sundays (184) Feast of the Furies

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.

"Feast of the Furies"
Air date: July 11, 1946
Starring Elliot Reed and Sheldon Leonard
>>Episodes here<<

Casey regrettfully knocks Sam over the head and drives him to an undisclosed location.  He's under orders from his boss to take Sam somewhere.  Sam, tied up in the passenger seat of the car, tries to get Casey to tell him what it's all about.  And who his boss is, but Casey just tells him he can't reveal that, and he's sorry he has to treat him that way.  Casey just wants to talk about nice things, why make his job unpleasant?  When Sam realizes Casey isn't going to let him go, he tries to talk Casey out of what he's doing.

This was an interesting two character suspense story (two characters for the most part) and when it gets to Sam's story, it becomes very tragic which I wasn't expecting.  Casey is a fun character too - clearly a thug, strong and not very bright, but with a good heart, and I was hoping Sam would be able to get through to him.  Especially because Sam's story is so unfortunate.  The ending was not quite what I hoped, but it was a good one.
Friday, January 29, 2016

Movie Musical Challenge: Annie Get Your Gun

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
In Movie Musical Challenge, I'm watching 20 films I picked as great films or films I wanted to watch.  My first film for this year's challenge is the effervescent Annie Get Your Gun from 1950, starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel.

Annie Get Your Gun is a really fun film to watch.  Because I like Westerns, the Western theme makes me happy, and the main character Annie is high-spirited, talented and engaging.  Betty Hutton was so perfect as Annie - she played Annie's lack of refinement, but excess of enthusiasm so perfectly.  Her transformation was surprising to me too - in the beginning of the film, when she is just fresh from the backwoods, she did not look even old enough to be enamored with (the very handsome haha) Frank Butler.  I mean she looked really young! I was like - isn't anyone going to ask how old she is before asking her to join the show??  That's great makeup and acting I guess.  And when she fixes herself up to become more lady-like, the difference is very striking.

The romance is sweet but just a little problematic to me though.  I get why Annie is so taken by Frank Butler, but I wish he could have accepted that Annie was a better shot than him and still loved her.  It seems sad that she can't be her best but still get the man.  Frank was a little annoying with his overweening pride.  And he went back and forth a lot - feeling like he loved Annie, to getting so angry when she showed her talent.  I was completely in agreement with the character of Charlie Davenport in telling off Frank over his selfishness.  So even though I really enjoyed this movie and even the romance at times, the ending made me a little sad for Annie.

The best part of the film has to be the one song that I was familiar with in this show - "Anything You Can Do" which is a hilarious scene where Annie and Frank are trying to one up each other.  And the lyrics are so clever.  I was looking forward to this scene when I first started watching, and it didn't disappoint.  Annie and Frank have wonderful chemistry together despite their antagonism.

There are lots of clever and catchy songs in this film, although not all of them stand out as much as "Anything You Can Do" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."  I'm glad I finally watched this one though - it made for great entertainment.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thoughts on the 1961 Jane Eyre

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
1961 adaptation of Jane Eyre (this is such a staged photo, there's no scene like this in the episode!)

There have been a handful of American hour long adaptations of Jane Eyre that were produced in the 40s/50s/60s for anthology television shows.  Three are generally available - one of them starred Charlton Heston as Rochester and another with Patrick MacNee (from the TV show The Avengers) as the brooding hero - and they are all interesting in their way, but there is another version that is not very accessible (but you can watch for free at the Paley museum in LA and NYC).  This one starred Sally Ann Howes and Zachary Scott.  It's one that I want to explore in this post because it's so interesting to me as an adaptation.  And in many ways I adore it.

I think of this post as a way for me to show that I can like Jane Eyre adaptations that change a lot of things from the book.  I'm not completely close-minded when it comes to liberties taken.  I do generally like for adaptations to be faithful, but if, in the event of time constraints, or catering to the audience, etc, there has to be some big changes, I still hope that those changes remain faithful to the story/characters/spirit of the original.  And in this TV version, I found that to be the case, which is very rare, especially with the changes they decided to make, and the fact that it is only an hour long.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Join the Truthwitch Read-along!

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,

Turns out, it's too much fun to be a part of the Truthwitch Street Team to just stop!  My clan in the team - the Waterwitch Babes - decided to host a read-along of the novel as a way to continue our shenanigans.  I will be re-reading it as I read it earlier last year (my 5 star review!), but I'm excited to revisit the story and the characters!  For more updates, our Waterwitch Babes twitter and tumblr will keep everyone informed.

The Truthwitch read-along will be held in February and will feature discussion questions and giveaways every week, culminating in a twitter chat for all the participants and Witchlanders. Here’s the planned schedule for the read-along:

Week 1
Feb 1-8 // Chapters 1-9
Hosted by Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
Character spotlight: Safiya

Week 2
Feb 9-15 // Chapters 10-19
Hosted by Olivia @ Candid Cover
Character spotlight: Iseult

Week 3
Feb 16-22 // Chapters 20-29
Hosted by Kim @ Dreaming in Libraries
Character spotlight: Merik

Week 4
Feb 23-29 // Chapters 30-End
Hosted by Carine @ Ceres Book World
Character spotlight: Aeduan

Feb 28 - Twitter Chat at 10am EST, use #TWReadalong

Non-spoilery discussion questions will be posted at the beginning of every week on the blog of the hosting Waterwitch, and all the participants are encouraged to share their thoughts - by answering the questions, or by just talking about the book on their blog by the end of the week. There will be a linky on the host discussion page for everyone to link their post to, and special giveaways as a way to thank everyone for reading and sharing the love of this wonderful book.  To clarify - for the first week's discussion, my blog will have the information - for the subsequent weeks, it will be on the other Waterwitches blogs.

In addition, every week we want to focus on one of the four main characters and encourage everyone to talk about what they like or dislike about them, if they identify with them, and what they think about their actions and motivations so far. Week 1 we will spotlight Safiya, Week 2: Iseult, Week 3: Merik, and Week 4: Aeduan. They are all such interesting and varied characters, that it will be great to read how everyone sees them!

So please do sign up below! If this is your first time reading Truthwitch, or a much needed re-read, we would be thrilled if you would join us in on our read-along!  Plus you can also enter for a giveaway of a Truthwitch bookmark!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Suspense Sundays (183) Too Many Smiths

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.

"Too Many Smiths"
Air date: June 13, 1946
Starring Hume Cronyn
>>Episodes here<<

Charles Wallingford, a porter for the Century Toothpaste company finds a memo announcing "Pat Smith" as the winner of the company's slogan contest.  The prize is $25,000.  Since the winner won't be formally announced for a couple days, Charles gets the idea to "bribe" this Pat Smith to share the prize if he can make sure that his slogan wins *wink wink.  Pat agrees, but Charles gets suspicious about Pat's sense of honor and decides it would be better if he killed Pat, and took over as him.  Which works for about a minute, until Charles finds out that there are two Pat Smiths who live in that apartment building.

Clever (but dastardly) idea to get the big prize for the contest!  Of course it doesn't work out for Charles, but the twists as he tries to figure out who the real winner was, and dodge the complication of Pat Smith's fiancee showing up, made this a great and suspenseful episode to listen to.  It's made even better because the episode starts with Charles caught by the police for murder and mysteriously hysterical...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Shameful Bookish Quirks

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,

As the post title says, this is going to be full of my habits and quirks that I'm not really proud of, but can't help doing or thinking anyway!  These relate to reading, as well as to blogging, and I sure hope I'm not alone in some of these! My idea for this post first came from thinking about the first item on my list - that of:

Not being into teaser chapters
There seems to be such excitement over these, and I just don't get it.  It's frustrating to me to just get a taste of the book, and not be able to finish it.  And it also seems like a waste of time, since by the time the book does come out, I'll probably have to re-read those chapters once I get the book.  I know it can give the reader an idea of if they will like the story, but for me, I'd rather start the story and decide if I like it when I can continue with the whole book.  I also find it hard to read serialized stories as well, as I just like to read the whole thing in one go, and not have to wait for each chapter.

Judging a book by it's cover
Even though it's not good to judge a book by it's cover, I do this hardcore.  I feel like a book with a bad cover is just not going to be great, and I don't have any excitement over reading it.  This is probably the worst, since I'm sure there are good books with bad covers out there!  The author sometimes can't help it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: Of Noble Family

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Of Noble Family (Glamourist Histories #5)
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Historical Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


The final book of the acclaimed Glamourist Histories is the magical adventure that might result if Jane Austen walked on the darker side of the Regency...

Jane and Vincent have finally gotten some much-needed rest after their adventures in Italy when Vincent receives word that his estranged father has passed away on one of his properties in the West Indies. His brother, who manages the estate, is overwhelmed, and no one else in his family can go. Grudgingly, out of filial duty the couple decide to go.

The sea voyage is long and Jane spends enough time unable to perform glamour that towards the end of the trip she discovers that she is with child. They are overjoyed, but when they finally arrive at the estate to complete what they expect to be routine legal tasks, they realize that nearly everything they came expecting to find had been a lie. Also, the entire estate is in disarray, with horrifying conditions and tensions with the local slave population so high that they are close to revolt.

Jane and Vincent's sense of peril is screaming out for them to flee, but Vincent cannot stand to leave an estate connected with his family in such a condition. They have survived many grand and terrifying adventures in their time, but this one will test their skills and wits more than any they have ever encountered before, this time with a new life hanging in the balance.

Review:

It's interesting to me how this series keeps getting a little darker and a little more involved with issues of social justice.  This series is just so different from where it started. With the previous novel "Valour and Vanity", I thought it couldn't get sadder, or more heart-rending or plumb the characters of Jane and Vincent deeper.  I was wrong.  This is the last book in the Glamourist Histories series, and it brought more depth and closure to Jane and Vincent and brings their story to a completely fulfilling conclusion.

The main plot of this story deals with a surprise twist that occurs very early on in the book.  Which I can't really explore in my review because I don't want to spoil it for everyone.  But it is wonderful that the reader finds out more about Vincent, his past, and his family in this book, and just how much that has affected him.  Vincent has always been a closed off character in the series, but in this book we see and understand him so much more.  His portrayal throughout this series has been very realistic, and that has just been made more apparent to me in this book.  Because there's still so many layers to him, and it's revealed further.

Another reason I adored this book was the love between the Vincents just felt more real, and achingly honest.  They love each other so much, it's ridiculous.  I'm totally jealous. And it made me ache all the more with them as they went through all the trials and injustices this story presents.

The social injustice Jane and Vincent face in this novel is slavery and it's approached perfectly in this novel.  Our main characters are compassionate and do not condone the practice at all, but the story is realistic about the change they could effect for the time, and I felt all the frustration that they felt in seeing such an atrocity.  There's a particular new character in this book, who is the example for all the worst prejudices and greed that made it so hard to eradicate slavery, and it was satisfying to have him dealt with in the end.  This whole novel was a gradual building of frustration and suspense with how impotent the Vincents were in the situation, but fortunately (as is the case for all the novels in the series so far) the author manages to craft the perfect resolution that is both satisfying and true to the time.  I'm especially in awe of just how cleverly it was done in this book because there is such a full circle satisfaction to the conclusion.

I'm sad that the series is over, but I loved reading every installment, and it's wondrous how the author brought two such wonderful characters to vivid and varied life.  This is a gorgeous ending to a glorious series!
Sunday, January 17, 2016

Suspense Sundays (182) Return Trip

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.

"Return Trip"
Air date: June 27, 1946
Starring Elliot Reid
>>Episodes here<<

Three passengers on a bus are heading away from an asylum after visiting their loved ones.  There is a blizzard stirring, and they want to get down the mountain as soon as possible, but they are stopped by police officers.  Someone dangerous has escaped from the asylum, and searches the bus.  They are let go because the men have ID, and the driver and his passengers decide to try to get back despite the snow storm.  And then there's an avalanche.

What makes this such a suspenseful story is not that someone could be out there trying to kill them, but that maybe the killer is one of the people on the bus! *cue dramatic music* *cue suspicion, hysteria and irrationality*  This was a very good episode to listen to - the kind of claustrophobic suspense I usually want from my Suspense radio stories.  It makes for some really creepy theater of the mind.  Although I did guess who the killer was! :D

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
by Shirley Jackson
Horror
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiousity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

Review:

This is the first Shirley Jackson book I have ever read, and it was an interesting introduction to her kind of curious and creepy world - with characters who act a little strangely, and a view of the human race that is not at all kind. I am still not sure what I feel about this book actually. It was a gently harrowing read, with a heroine in Merricat Blackwood who I have such weirdly contradictory feelings for. On the one hand, I’m intensely sympathetic towards her, and yet at times, I find her very annoying. Although her instincts for the most part are right on, especially when it came to one character who was so unlikable, I couldn’t help but root for Merricat’s murderous thoughts about him.

The novel is a study in strange characters. There is a mob-like, and very unpleasant group of people who live in town and look down on the Blackwoods. The author captured a vivid realism in the small town gossip and small-minded hatred of the people which was both disturbing and thought-provoking. And terribly sad. The surviving Blackwoods are each eccentric and have their own unique mannerisms and behaviors which also made them vividly realistic and interesting to get to know. While all the Blackwoods are unfortunate in different ways, I had the most sympathy with Constance, who was such a good character and yet afflicted by her past and her apprehensive nature. I really wanted something good to happen for her.

There is a reveal in this book, that is not at all shocking because it is made pretty obvious from the start, but because of this, I found the story meandering and slow at parts - and again, much more of a study in characters and atmosphere than in plot development or suspense.. There is a pervading sense of stagnation though, in this book, that I think is part of the characters, and so perhaps it’s purposely made a part of the plot. This is short read though, with some very intense moments of dread woven into the story. I don’t think I actually enjoyed dwelling in this world Shirley Jackson created because it can be so unnerving and sad, but this was quite a vivid book.

*Note - this review was previously posted as a guest post on Papercuttts Book Blog.  Since I'm a little low on reviews at the moment, I'm posting this on my blog today!
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Movie Musical Challenge - 2016

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

A new year, a new Movie Musical Challenge!  Last year, my challenge was to watch AFI's top 25 films, but this year I decided to pick the films I wanted to watch - the ones I haven't seen before (but heard they were good) or because I thought they should be recognized.  This time I'm going with 20 films to make things a bit easier on me.  And out of this list, I've only seen three films!  Well, I probably have seen White Christmas, but I don't remember it really.  I'm probably not going to watch this in any particular order (but for sure I'm saving White Christmas for December!)  Like last year, I'll do a wrap-up post where I order these films as the top best/ favorites.  Now here's the list:

The Little Mermaid (1989) ✓ (watched)
The Lion King (1994) 
The Music Man (1962)  (watched)
Oklahoma (1955)
South Pacific (1958)
Kiss Me Kate (1953)  (watched)
Anchor's Aweigh (1945) 
White Christmas (1954)
Easter Parade (1948)  (watched)
The Gay Divorcee (1934)  (watched)
Bride and Prejudice (2004)  (watched)
Swing Time (1936)
Gigi (1958)
Hello Dolly (1964)
Annie Get Your Gun (1950)  (watched)
Jumbo / or Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)  (watched)
Shall We Dance (1937)
The Pajama Game (1957)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
High Society (1956)  (watched)
Calamity Jane (1953)  (watched)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Star Trek VOY Season 7 - Top 5 Favorite Episodes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The very last season of Voyager.  I felt kinda sad to reach the end of this series.  I just loved Captain Janeway so much.  I loved her sense of honor and her fierceness.  With all the Star Trek series, there is the sense that the crew will always follow their Captain because they trust them, and I really felt the strength of the Captain in holding her crew together in this series.  It is strange though that I didn't put the finale episode in my top 5 though.  It was very good, and featured time travel, but it seemed a bit off at times, and I'm not even sure how much I liked seeing Janeway so altered.  Probably if I was to revisit the episode in the future, I would enjoy it more, but for now, these top 5 are the ones for me!

Now I just have one more series to go! (Until the new one that is!)  I'm so impatient to see Dr. Noonien Soong! :D

5. Author, Author


The Doctor is working on a holonovel that advocates hologram rights.  The novel borrows much from the Voyager's history and personnel.  Some of the other crew members are not happy with their depiction in the novel.  This is a fun episode, that takes a serious, thoughtful turn.  It reminded me a bit of the TNG episode The Measure of a Man since it deals with the Doctor's ability to have rights over his holonovel.  Although this episode does not... measure up to The Measure of a Man in my opinion, it does still do a great job of focusing on humanity's need to adapt when it comes to rights issues, and this story also stands out because of the skewed way the crew is portrayed in the holonovel.  It makes for some hilarious and surprising scenes.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Suspense Sundays (181) An Evening's Diversion

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.

"An Evening's Diversion"
Air date: July 4, 1946
Starring William Johnstone
>>Episodes here<<

Mr. Edwards, a hard working businessman, is told by his doctor to go out for an evening's diversion.  He's been working too hard lately and should do something new.  Mr. Edwards is resistant, but one night he does decide to visit a bar that his secretary was talking about earlier.  One in which someone got shot one night by some gangsters.  While Mr. Edwards is having dinner, he overhears two guys talking and one man intends to murder a woman.

This is a funny episode to me.  Because it's an interesting story - at first I was not sure where it was going because it really seemed like Mr. Edwards did not want to go out, but when he made his split decision, the whole 'overhearing gangsters bit' was inevitable, as was his decision to try and prevent the murder.  In fact, it was all not very surprising, just a bit suspenseful, until the twist.  OMG.  It totally stopped me in my tracks.  And I loved it!  It was a complete WTF and it instantly elevated this episode in my opinion.  Definitely listen to this one!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Best of 2015

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
My friends Alisa and Aidan recently posted a Top 10 Best of 2015 list on their blog Those Who Geek and it made me want to talk about some of the fun things I discovered last year.  Thank you Alisa and Aidan for the idea!  And if you haven't seen their post - go listen to the audio right now!  It's fun to hear them enthuse over the things they love.

In my Year in Review, I talked about books and blogging, but for this Best of, I wanted to focus on more nerdy obsessions I had - things not books and blogging.  Hopefully if I continue to do this in the future, I'll actually post it at the end of the year, but for now - here are nine things I completely fell in love with in the year 2015.  (I couldn't think of a tenth one!)

9. Julian Ovenden


Julian Ovenden played Capt. Von Trapp recently in England's live version of The Sound of Music.  I really liked him as the Captain, and from that found out what a fantastic singing voice he has! So rich and deep and smooth.  I've been listening to a few of his songs lately!

8. Show Boat

I watched this musical as part of my Movie Musical Challenge last year, and while I thought I really just love the song "Can't Help Lovin Dat Man", I recently watched (well I still have to finish it though) PBS recent live concert performance of the musical and realize that I do love the story and the music in general.  I'm curious to see how this concert performance ends because the musical does seem a bit sadder than the fifties film version I watched.  Also it's starring Julian Ovenden so... two birds, one stone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jane Eyre - National Theatre Live

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,

On Sunday, I eagerly watched the theater broadcast of the recent U.K. play adaptation of Jane Eyre. It's a 3 hour production directed by Sally Cookson and starring Madeleine Worrall as Jane, Felix Hayes as Rochester, and five other actors playing all the other roles.  I thought it would be fun to write a short review of it.  I'm sorry.  Because this is not short.

During the interval of the broadcast, there was an interview and behind the scenes video about the play, and I really liked what I heard from the director about how she views the story, and how she feels that Jane's journey is the essential feature.  It is called Jane Eyre after all.  I very much agreed with her on that, and I loved that she felt such a connection to the story and put that love for it into her production.  The play is focused on Jane's story as a whole, starting with how she develops, so it was nice to see that all five parts of the book (Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Morton, and Ferndean) get pretty fleshed out (the first three though are really focused on).  It was overall a good adaptation and a bold and unique interpretation of the story.  But I may have had some minor issues with it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Review: Truthwitch

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
by Susan Dennard
YA Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Review:

This is a book I've been aching to read for such a long time, and I'm so happy that it fulfilled my (very unrealistic) expectations.  From the synopsis, Truthwitch sounds epically engaging with a fully formed, realistic fantasy world, and a dynamic magic system based on the elements.  And it totally delivers on all those things.  The story can seem a little too complex from the synopsis, but once you get into the story, it settles into a rhythm that makes it easy to understand how most things work.  But there is still a lot more to build upon for the rest of the series.

The characters are the best part of the book though - the story is told through four revolving POVs - Safi, Iseult, Merik and Aeduan (and I love that the rest of the series is named after each of these witches).  It's clear that this novel is called Truthwitch because it is Safi that everyone is focused on in this first book.  Her power is unique, and there are a lot of political machinations in place to use her.  But Safi is not one to make it easy for anyone to do that.  She's fierce and crafty and great fun to read about.  Her bond with Iseult - basically the ultimate bestie relationship - is so beautiful to read about to.  I love that two strong female characters lead this book, and how much heart that gives the story.

Iseult is such a complex character too.  She's a strong, intelligent woman, but the people of the Witchlands regard her race with suspicion and prejudice and she has to deal with that a lot in this book.  It adds more realism to a fantasy world just bursting with details.  Merik, is quite the character too.  He's so grumpy, yet lovable and his determination to make the right decisions and be the best leader he can for his crew is inspiring.  The fourth main character - Aeduan - is pretty dark.  He can be seen as the villain, but there is so much more to him, and his actions don't always bear out with villainy.  There's no way to tell how things will play out with him, and that gray area makes him fascinating.

The story moves quickly but there is a steady building of suspense and plot, as Safi and Iseult are basically on the run.  There are plenty of action scenes, but the character development is never lacking, and there is some pretty heady romance to keep the reader swooning.  As if Merik and his hunky threadbrother Kullen weren't enough!  And while this first book feels complete, there is definitely enough of an open ending to make you wish you could pick up the second book right away.  I loved how this first book felt so completely like the beginning of this great, grand adventure, and I can't wait to embark on the next installment with these characters.

Truthwitch releases tomorrow! And if you pre-ordered the book, don't forget to sign up for preorder goodies on thewitchlands.com.  You can get a free signed book-plate and double-sided poster (for U.S./Canada and U.K. residents.)  
Sunday, January 3, 2016

Suspense Sundays (180) The High Wall

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 High Wall"
Air date: June 6, 1946
Starring Robert Young
>>Episodes here<<

Bob Lewis wakes up in a asylum for the criminally insane. He lost six months to amnesia - he can't remember what happened after he came home to his wife after three years, and opened the door to a knock.  He's in the asylum for murder, but he is sure he never committed such a horrible crime.  Fortunately his nurse is willing to help him prove his innocence.

The twist in this episode is very good. It's actually surprising to me how much my expectations led me to believe that things would go a certain way in the story, and it did not.  I think for that, this is a great episode to listen to. I always love stories that surprise me!