Today I am linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday prompt.
There are many things that will instantly make me want to read a book and I had a hard time deciding how to classify this list. To keep it simple, I condensed it as you see below.
Author -I keep a list of authors who I consider must-read, meaning I own most if not all of their books and immediately purchase any new releases. Unfortunately or fortunately for me this list continues to grow! Just a few of the authors on my list include: Jenny B Jones, Nichole Van, Tessa Afshar, Laura Frantz, Tamara Leigh, Heather Burch, Joanne Bischof, Elizabeth Camden, Nicole Deese, Tammy L Gray, Becky Doughty, Sibella Giorello, Jody Hedlund, Kristen Heitzmann, Susan May Warren, Denise Hunter, Ronie Kendig, Julie Klassen, Siri Mitchell, Amy Leigh Simpson, Brandy Vallance, and Becky Wade.
Setting -I can pretty much guarantee you that any book set in Russia at any time in history or with a Russian character is going to be one I have to read. Don’t ask me why, but I’m fascinated with Russia’s culture and history and there are not nearly enough novels set there. Susan May Warren has a couple of series set in Russia that I enjoyed such as the Heirs of Anton and Mission:Russia. I also loved Ronie Kendig’s Russian spy hero in her book Talon.
Time Period -Historical fiction is my favorite genre with the medieval time .period being my favorite. So, I am constantly on the lookout for good stories set in medieval Britain and have even found a few set in France and Italy such as Lisa Tawn Bergren’s YA series River of Time and also her Novel of theGifted series.
Time Travel -I feel time travel stories are the best of both worlds, contemporary and historical fiction, so when I find one I haven’t read I am immediately intrigued. Nichole Van is my current favorite author of this type of story.
Cover -Let’s be honest, who isn’t drawn to a book by it’s cover? Why else would that be a popular phrase to use, because we do judge books by covers. I am currently anticipating two new books from new to me authors simply because the covers caught my eye! And now I am eagerly awaiting the release of Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden along with Toward a Secret Sky by Heather MacLean.
Sale -Again, ladies let’s be honest. Which one of us can resist a good sale? I have read many a book written by an author I had never heard of, simply because the book was either discounted or even free. I have discovered several of my favorite new authors this way, particularly indie authors who self-publish. I say yay for book sales!
Book Reviews -Sometimes I will read a book I didn’t think would interest me simply because I read a review by someone I trust. I don’t often take random book recommendations from friends, but a review gives me information about the story itself while also highlighting things the reviewer loved about it.
Sequel -I love/hate books with sequels, mainly because I always want to know how the story ends. I’m one of those readers who read the back of the book first. So, if I fall in love with a story which takes more than one book to tell, then I absolutely have to read the sequel to find out what happens! I am currently biting my nails waiting on Firstborn, which is the sequel to Tosca Lee’s book The Progeny that I read last year. I loved it, but I hate that I have to wait so long to find out what happens. Therefore, I can promise you I will be buying Firstborn as soon as it releases.
I know I’m a bit short of ten, but there you have it.
I have recently discovered the world of foreign films. The joy of watching a foreign film is that it exposes the viewer to countries and cultures much different than our own without ever needing to leave home. I have found many of these films to be of equal, sometimes better caliber than American films. One such example is the Turkish romantic drama Sadece Sen (English translation: Only You) a remake of the Korean film Always.
Ali is a lonely, former boxer with a tragic, violent past he would like to forget. When he meets Hazal, a beautiful, blind woman, he rejects her overtures of friendship. But he can only resist her for so long. Hazal’s unconditional acceptance of Ali and her cheerful optimism begin to break through the walls he has built to protect himself. As their relationship develops, it changes and enriches both of their lives. But a shocking revelation and subsequent sacrifice will challenge everything they have known.
Voice in the Wind is a relatively obscure film which tells the story of Jan Volny (pronounced with a soft J like the French name Jean), a Czech citizen and his beloved wife Marya. We are first introduced to Jan on the island of Guadalupe, a safe haven for refugees of the Nazi regime. Jan is only known as El Hombre or the crazy one, as none of the other island occupants know his true identity since he himself has forgotten it and lost his memories.
Jan is treated with some wariness, but is befriended by the morally challenged Angelo, who along with his brothers owns a ship and preys on unfortunate refugees, promising to take them to America, only to steal their valuables, kill them and toss them into the sea.
The local bar owner, another friend, allows Jan the use of his piano on which Jan continually plays the same song over and over while staring into space. In flash backs we see Jan as a popular concert pianist preparing for his last concert in his home country before emigrating to America with Marya to escape the Nazi occupation. A Nazi soldier stops by to warn him not to play The Moldau, a musical symbol of Czech patriotism, but during his encore Jan defies this order. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Voice in the Wind (1944)”
Since historical (romance) fiction is my favorite genre, today I’m sharing a list of my favorite series in this genre. Some of these are long-time favorites some are newer. The list may seem a bit long, but believe me, I got it as short as I could. I can’t help that there are so many good stories out there. So without further ado…
The Reluctant Demon Diaries by Linda Rios Brooks -tells the events of the Bible from the perspective of a demon longing for redemption.
Endeavor is an ongoing British television series about young detective Endeavor Morse who is taken under the wing of his superior DI Fred Thursday as they investigate crime for the City Police of Oxford in the 1960’s.
For British detective series fans, this is an origin story for the long running series Inspector Morse which featured Morse as the senior officer of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Oxford Police. But how did this irascible, classical music and literature lover, beer swilling, unrequited romantic become the head investigator and the difficult yet brilliant character Inspector Morse?
In Endeavor, we see hints to Morse’s personal background as well as his early years with the Oxford Police. He is not quite socially awkward, but his high brow interests, extreme intelligence, lack of personal ambition and unwillingness to pretend personal and professional interest where he has none, does make him somewhat of an outsider and a loner, until Detective Inspector Thursday decides he has promise and becomes his mentor, friend and father figure. Continue reading “TV Series Review -Endeavor”
Alfred Hitchcock earned his title as the Master of Suspense and it is one that he certainly deserves. Unlike other directors who worked in multiple genres, Hitchcock remained true to his preferred theme.
Whether directing gothic mysteries, international intrigues, courtroom dramas or thrillers, Hitchcock managed to titillate his audience with the tension inherent in the suspense of the unknown, feeding their fear with mystery.
Romantic tension is a recurring sub-theme. While usually not the focus, it is often the boiling undercurrent which adds to the overall suspense inherent to his films. Hitchcock does not display the contented happy side of romance, but rather the darker aspects of love and desire. He generally shows the male and female leads wrestling with a vital question and component of any relationship – trust, all while already finding themselves in murky circumstances.
I have seen a large number of Hitchcock films and have made a list of a few which highlight his view of romance. Hopefully, this will give a new perspective to Hitchcock’s title as the Master of Suspense. Here are five romantic films, Hitchcock style.
To see the list, please follow me here to The Silver Petticoat Review.
At this point, everybody and their dog has seen or at least knows the story of Beauty of the Beast. The last thing the internet needs is another review. Despite the few quibbles I had with Disney’s latest version, (the CGI Beast and wolves, just…no and what was up with Belle tucking her dress up to show off her bloomers? Weird) I found it absolutely enchanting. So, I thought I would share eight things I loved about Beauty and the Beast none of which have to do with the title characters or their romance.
Old Songs -It was such a pleasure to hear the familiar and famous songs of the animated classic. It brought a feeling of nostalgia and connection and it was fun to see the song and dance choreography portrayed in a feature film.
New Songs -Honestly, I didn’t love two of the three new songs, but I did appreciate what they added to the film. I did love the Beast’s solo Evermore and thought the song itself was romantic and beautiful.
Gaston & LeFou -These two were one of the highlights of the film for me. Despite the controversy behind LeFou’s character, I loved how Josh Gad played him. He made me giggle. Luke Evans nailed, the arrogance, self-absorption and manipulative anger of Gaston. I really thought his was the strongest performance of the film.
Phillipe the Horse -Perhaps it was just me, but Phillipe the horse seemed like a character in itself. Somehow that animal displayed personality and some acting skill. I was more worried about Phillipe than Belle when they were attacked by the wolves.
Unintentional Homage to a Classic Musical -Again, maybe it is just me, but did anyone else think that the scene of Belle finishing her song on the hill outside of town, looked remarkably like the scene of Maria singing The Hills Are Alive in the Sound of Music? It literally looked like Belle was plopped down into the Austrian mountains outside of Salzburg.
Honored Other Versions -I didn’t realize this while I was watching the film, but after doing some research I found that this new Beauty and the Beast honored past film and stage versions by incorporating parts specific to each version.
Backstory -I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway once and was haunted by so many questions afterwards. Thankfully, the film version expanded the story and gave more depth and detail, particularly to the Phantom’s story, answering some of those questions. Beauty and the Beast received similar treatment and I loved having a fuller picture of both Beast’s and Belle’s pasts.
The Big Reveal -I know at some point in the marketing lead up to the release of this film, I came across the names of the actors who were in Beauty and the Beast. But aside from a few glimpses at the start of the film when I saw Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci, I had no idea who was voicing the inhabitants of the castle. So, when the spell is finally broken, and the characters became human, it was a big reveal for me to see which actors played which part. I had reactions like, I KNEW that voice sounded familiar (Ewan McGregor) and Oh my gosh, he’s so perfect as this character (Ian McKellan), or Wow, I did not expect that (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and finally, Oh, I love her so much! (Emma Thompson) And even though I knew Dan Stevens was the actor behind the Beast, in the opening scene before the curse, he is so covered in makeup as be to almost disguised. So when the Beast was transformed into human form again, it was still the first time we see the real Beast. And can I digress briefly and just say how much I love Stanley Tucci?! He is reminiscent of the character actors of Classic Hollywood and steals scenes in every film he’s in. He’s fearless as an actor and I’m always thrilled when I see him pop up in a film.
Beauty and the Beast is a film that I will want to watch again and again. I really can’t wait to see which animated fairy tale Disney will choose to remake next. I think it would be really interesting to see how they would film The Little Mermaid.
What about you? Which Disney animation tale would you love to see on the big screen?
When former girl band member Paisley Sutton receives news that she has inherited a wedding planning business back in her hometown of Sugar Creek, Arkansas, she leaves L.A. thinking to complete the terms of her late aunt’s will so she can sell Enchanted Events to finance her musical comeback.
Only neither the business nor her hometown are quite the charmless, out of date places she remembers. Instead she returns, to a surprisingly modern, thriving company and a revitalized Sugar Creek. Both begin to challenge her plans and perceptions, as do the people she had left behind. Paisley begins to feel the tug on her heartstrings, thanks to her adventurous ex-CIA grandmother, good friend and cousin Emma and her new next door neighbor and old crush, Beau Hudson.
Cary Grant is my all time favorite actor as well as being both a film and style icon. I’m a bit embarrassed that as an obsessive fan, he was not the first actor in my Introduction Series. So, this one may be a quite a bit longer than my usual actor introductions.
Archibald Leach was born in 1904 in Bristol England to an alcoholic father and an over-protective but emotionally detached mother. He was an only child whose parents were working class, but his mother nurtured his fascination for theater and performance while his father impressed on him the value of quality apparel. At nine years old, his mother just disappeared from his life with no explanation. His father finally told Archie that she had died. Only years later in his middle age, did he learn that his mother had been committed to a mental institution.
As a young teenager he dropped out of school and joined an acrobatic travelling team which toured around England. Eventually he went with the troupe to tour in America where he took many odd jobs, but continued to hone his performance skills. It was during this time, that he began to craft the persona of Cary Grant for which he would later become famous.
Still Archie Leach, he began studying the mannerisms, speech, posture and other attributes of the cultured, educated crowd he wanted to mimic. He also began to practice his speech, dropping the English accent he was born with and developing what would be come known as a transatlantic accent which was cultured, but untraceable to any particular place. Continue reading “Introducing Cary Grant”
An Australian western set in the 1880’s, The Man From Snowy River is the story of young Jim Craig who was born and raised in the mountains. After an accident that kills his father that also leads to Jim’s horse escaping to run free with a pack of wild horses, Jim must leave the family homestead to seek work and respect in the lowlands.
He finds a job with wealthy cattle rancher Harrison and meets Jessica, Harrison’s strong willed daughter. The boss assigns Jim to menial tasks, earning disdain from other ranch hands. But he finds relief in his developing friendship with the boss’s daughter who shares his love for horses.
When Jim and Jessica make the risky decision to break and train Harrison’s new and expensive colt, it leads to a confrontation with Harrison. Jim is fired and Jessica runs away from her father’s harsh hand and the threat of finishing school.
Jealous ranch hands then frame Jim for the release of the colt. Jim must prove his honor and integrity by rescuing Jessica and also recovering the colt which now runs with the Brumbies. This is the same group of wild horses which his own horse has joined and which has roamed freely for many years.