Top Ten Tuesday -Fall Covers

Today’s Topic: Ten Books With Fall/Autumn Covers/Themes (If the cover screams fall to you, or the books give off a feeling of being Fallish)

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t like fall? From the shift in temperatures bringing relief from summer heat, to a new school year, football season, pumpkin everything and warm clothes, fall just screams cozy.

Initially, I looked for covers which would show the changing of the leaves. Then I decided my scope was too narrow and decided my only criteria would be covers that give me the same warm and cozy feeling that fall does.

With the exception of a few recent releases, I have read most of these titles. And I can tell you, the story inside is just as warm and fuzzy as the image outside. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its’ cover. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Fall Covers”

Film Review -The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

I vividly remember my first exposure to The Phantom of the Opera. My family was in New York and my father took us all to see the show on Broadway. We also watched the equally famous Les Miserable that same trip. But as much as I loved the message, it was not Les Miserable which stuck with me. For weeks, I was haunted by the story of the Phantom. The music replayed continuously in my mind and I couldn’t let go of all the questions that the stage production left open ended. Most importantly, what happened to the Phantom?!

Based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera has been adapted many times. But it is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage and film musical which is arguably the most familiar to audiences.

The Phantom of the Opera Summary

In Webber’s version, the orphaned Christine Daae has been raised in a Parisian opera house where she also works as a dancer. But she has secretly been taking voice lessons from a tutor she only knows as the Angel of Music. When an accident occurs during rehearsal Carlotta, the resident soprano, refuses to sing for opening night. This serves as Christine’s big break. She is a big success. This also brings her to the attention of the new patron of the opera house and her former childhood sweetheart, Raoul the Vicomte de Chagny.

Her public success and meeting with the Vicomte motivate her mysterious tutor to finally reveal himself to her as the Phantom of the Opera. He is not the ghost that the company thinks he is, but a highly disfigured man (both physically and emotionally) who lives beneath the opera house. But in spite of his kindness to Christine the Phantom is a man to be feared. He will stop at nothing both to dictate the management of the opera house itself and to possess the lovely and innocent Christine.

For my full summary and review, please head over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Book Review -Bread of Angels

SUMMARY

In Bread of Angels  Lydia’s life has been ruled by fear, ever since a traumatic childhood event. Her father does his best to provide a sense of security while also teaching his daughter the family secrets behind the coveted color purple. Lydia is content living in her ancestral home and learning the traditions of the royal colored dye.

But when Lydia and her father put their trust in the wrong people, they lose everything. Lydia’s father encourages her to start over in a new place, free from the taint and betrayal which follow them at home. An unlikely friendship with the Jewish Rebecca ensures that Lydia has a friend and ally in her new home of Phillipi.

Lydia struggles to honor her father and family heritage. She strives to carry on the family business in a time when women were rarely allowed to live and work on their own. Despite her successes, fear continues to stalk her every step until she hears the message of the apostle Paul. Finally, Lydia recognizes the source of peace and freedom. But when she is challenged once again by old foes and older secrets, will fear finally conquer her or will Lydia have the final victory? Continue reading “Book Review -Bread of Angels”

Top Ten Tuesday -Fictional Girl Crushes

Today’s Topic: Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

Well, since I recently did this post on my favorite book boyfriends, I decided to focus on my favorite girl crushes.

In preparing this post, I realized how many great female characters are being written in fiction these days, no matter what genre you read. I’ve also noticed that some of my favorite authors consistently write memorable female characters.

I had a hard time narrowing down my list, but decided to focus not just on strong, inspirational women, but the ones that I really love. These are the women whose personalities and stories stick with me and begin to feel like old friends. So, without further ado… Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Fictional Girl Crushes”

Classic Film Review -The Philadelphia Story (1940)

I am delighted to be able to introduce you to one of my very favorite films, The Philadelphia Story.

The Philadelphia Story Summary

Tracy Samantha Lord (Katharine Hepburn) is a Philadelphia socialite who is preparing to wed for the second time. Unfortunately for her, the editor of a popular tabloid magazine has bribed his reporter and photographer as well as Tracy’s ex-husband into providing coverage of the wedding. His bargaining chip is incriminating evidence he holds against Tracy’s philandering father. So, in spite of her wish for a quiet, private wedding she agrees to this invasion of her special event.

Her path to matrimony is unexpectedly complicated by her attraction to the male reporter Macauley “Mike” Connor (James Stewart). The arrival of her ex doesn’t make things any easier. She and CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) had fallen deeply in love years ago, but were driven apart by her excessively high standards and his affinity for alcohol. But now Dexter has returned to a warm welcome from Tracy’s family.  He uses his relationship to her family to constantly remind her how unsuitable her new fiancé is for her.

To add to the confusion, Liz, the female photographer is in love with Mike. It’s a love quadrangle folks! Or is it a love pentagon, it’s hard to keep track of who wants who in the few crazy days leading up to the wedding.

To read my full summary and review, please head over to The Silver Petticoat Review.   

And please check out my character spotlight of Tracy Lord.

Foreign Film Friday -Ekaterina (2014-)

History is rich with people whose lives contain enough drama and significant events to still fascinate today. In recent years,  TV & Film focused particularly on female rulers who acted as heads of state in times where women were considered inferior and subservient to men. These women proved the lie of such notions by being crafty, intelligent and strong leaders. Catherine the Great of Russia is one such woman who stands out in history. Several films and television series featured her rise to power and her subsequent reign during a period when Russia was a powerful player in international affairs. However, Ekaterina is one of the few if not only onscreen productions which is not only filmed in Russia but produced exclusively by Russians for Russian television.

SUMMARY

Catherine is a German-born princess whose parents have little financial means but important connections. She is chosen as a potential bride for the Grand Duke of Russia as a pawn in a game of international intrigue. She is naïve enough to believe that she and Peter can develop a marriage based on love and respect. But Peter, whose life has been controlled by his aunt, the Empress Elizabeth, refuses her overtures as a means of rebellion against the arranged marriage.

From her arrival at the Russian court of St. Petersburg, Catherine’s life is manipulated and controlled by those with greater power and influence. She learns to keep her mouth shut and her ears open as she maneuvers through the treacherous waters of the royal court. Over the course of fifteen years, and through her many losses, Ekaterina has her innocence and illusion shattered while she learns the art of diplomacy and the cost of being the wife to the heir apparent of the Russian throne.

To read the rest of my review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Book Review -The Rose Garden

SUMMARY

Eva Ward is mourning the death of her only remaining family. She decides to return with her sister’s ashes to the only place where they both felt at home. So she heads to Trelowarth, the ancient home of family friends on the Cornish coast.

Eva processes her grief by helping her old playmates modernize their family business. But soon she starts noticing shifts in her vision and hears voices which don’t exist. Worried that she might be losing her mind, she finds herself transported in time to the year 1715.

There she meets Daniel Butler, his brother Jack and their friend Fergal. These men are knee deep in danger.  Not only are they well-respected smugglers but they are also involved in a potential Jacobite rebellion.

As Eva travels back and forth in time she must wrestle with the challenges of disappearing and reappearing at whim. But the bigger challenge she faces is protecting her orphaned heart and deciding where she belongs.

Continue reading “Book Review -The Rose Garden”

Film Review -Gifted (2017)


SUMMARY

Gifted is the story of Frank and his niece Mary. Mary is a math prodigy much like her deceased mother. Frank’s sister asked him to take care of Mary before she killed herself. Frank has done his best to raise Mary as his sister would have wanted and much differently than she herself was raised by their own mother. Instead of capitalizing on Mary’s genius, Frank has tried to provide Mary with a normal childhood. Well, as normal as possible with Frank’s sporadic employment. Mary’s best (and only) friend is their next door neighbor Roberta. Despite the fact that Roberta is old enough to be Mary’s mother, the two have a special connection.

When Frank decides to put Mary in public school, against Roberta’s advice, it is a surprisingly catalytic event. Though Mary has had no formal schooling it is clear she is more advanced than even her teacher. However, her social skills leave much to be desired. Against the recommendation of Mary’s principal and teacher, Frank declines to put her in a school for the gifted. He opts to leave her where he believes she will be allowed to have a normal childhood. However, this decision manages to reach the ears of his uptight, brilliant mother who wishes Mary to continue the work that her own daughter never completed. Thus a legal battle for custody of Mary ensues, with both Frank and his mother Evelyn believing they know what is best for Mary. But, who is right? And will anyone in this family come out a winner when Mary is the prize? Continue reading “Film Review -Gifted (2017)”

Top Ten Tuesday-Female Characters with Unusual Jobs

Today’s Topic:Ten Books That Feature Characters ____________:

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”  Don’t ask me why that song popped up in my head. Life isn’t a competition.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is open to interpretation, so I decided to feature fictional women with interesting jobs or who work in a male dominated fields.

In the past working women were restricted to the secretarial, nursing or teaching professions. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in the past several decades. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday-Female Characters with Unusual Jobs”

Television Mini-Series Review -Young Catherine (1991)

Young Catherine is an American/British/Canadian mini-series which portrays the early years of Russia’s Catherine the Great.

In 1744 Sophia Fredericke, a princess of a small German principality, is invited to the court of St. Petersburg as the potential bride for the next Russian heir. Sophia’s upbringing has been sheltered. She has a close relationship with her father, with whom she shares a devotion to their Lutheran faith. Her relationship with her mother is less warm. But it is with her mother that she travels to Russia.  Her mother is well prepared for the political and social intrigues of the Russian court, but Sophia is less so.

She arrives as a naive innocent, eager to believe in a love match between herself and Peter, the Grand Duke and future emperor. Thanks to some advice from the handsome Grigory Orlov, Sophia is smart enough to ingratiate herself with the Empress Elizabeth, Russia’s ruling sovereign. Sophia soon begins to experience the shattering of her illusions. It slowly becomes clear to her that her marriage and her role within the Russian monarchy is not made of fairy tales. Sophia must learn how to maneuver in an environment where she is viewed as at best, a pawn and at worst, a threat to others’ ambitions.  She must decide if she is willing and how much she will sacrifice for the sake of a crown.

To read my review of this series, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.