The Making of a Lady (2012)

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Making of a Lady

Victorian era mysteries aren’t uncommon. Unfortunately with their popularity being “across the pond,” they are a rarity to get a hold of. This dark, gripping drama isn’t in its element during the behind-the-scenes production but it has multiple other advantages to recommend itself. 

Casting Scoop: All Things British!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hello, hello again! So this morning I am taking a break from reviews and such to share a new casting bit and some exciting news regarding the ITV series The Bletchley Circle. Thanks to it being picked up by ITV this past spring, it has earned a second series pick up. This leaves me really excited to say the least - and according to Digital Spy, also joining the cast will be Hattie Morahan, whom we all may remember from the delightful 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility.

Also in the news of British casting scoops is finally more about Death Comes to Pemberly - the newly commissioned BBC serial we discussed way back in February. Cast as (according to Zap2It and other sources) Mr. Wickham is Matthew Goode and playing the esteemed Mr. Darcy himself will be Matthew Rhys.

Excuse me while I try to process this potentially horrible miscast for a moment...
Hello, creepy what's-his-name villain in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  
Hello, better-looking version of said villain.

Okay, I am back.

Also joining the cast of 'Pemberly' will be Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth and much as I like her... I am unsure of her being a "good" choice also. If nothing else, I know she'll turn in a magnificent performance as she is a talented actress.

Set to make a late 2013 debut, Death Comes to Pemberley will mark a 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Your turn!
Anyone with thoughts, please do chime in.
As always, I'd love to read them.

Childhood Dreams in a Box

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lately I’ve been feeling nostalgic. This past winter, I painted my room, and while going through the task, there was plenty of work to be done. I had to remove everything from the walls (good-bye movie posters), take books off shelves (this was NO insignificant task) and move every piece of furniture into the spare room where most of it still sits packed like sardines. One night in the last week, I was looking through a box attempting to find something and instead of focusing on what I was looking for, I realized something; contained within that box were so many things – things of childhood. Birthday cards, two framed photos, old watches and dozens of glow-in-the-dark stars. While looking through the box, it struck me that by undertaking that task, in some small way it was shedding another piece of my childhood.

Necessary Roughness, Season Two (2012)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Combining an interesting behind-the-scenes look at various major leagues of sports – centering the majority of its time on football, the second season of Necessary Roughness revealed new enemies and new alliances, all done in a lighthearted, breezy sort of way that makes the viewer smile.  

11 Things

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hello, hello! Instead of a review or a rambling topical post (which I’d had planned originally for today), I’ve decided to answer the "tag" questions from the kind Analiese who tagged me earlier this week! Thanks so much, Analiese – that was terribly kind of you! So below you’ll find the answers to this “11 Things” meme. 

Great Expectations (2012) - A Star-Studded Dickens Drama

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last year, the works of Dickens celebrated a milestone, and with that came a handful of new adaptations. Not the least of which was not one but two re-makes of Great Expectations. Typical Dickens, the story is dark and not without its finer points – the most important being, with wealth comes great responsibility. 

Megan and Liz: Bad for Me EP

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

About the EP:
Tracks: 7
Writing Credits: Elizabeth Mace, Megan Mace, Martin Johnson, John Feldman
Release Date: 2012
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 

Review: Blending their well-matched vocals and harmonies, sisters Megan and Elizabeth Mace are a duo whose music may have started out humbly with their fantastic covers but have evolved into compositions of their own, iTunes singles and now, a 7-track EP that is quite enjoyable – full of summertime feel-good songs that are difficult not to like. Getting their start on YouTube, the girl’s sang some covers of well-known hits like ‘Just a Kiss,’ ‘Want U Back’ or my own favorite ‘Enchanted’ (which sounds better than the original recording in my opinion). It is their YouTube following that has earned them a name and subsequently this EP. The first song is the title track. Its sassy realization of indulging something that is “bad” is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” in the message even if the arrangement isn’t quite as catchy, the tune was released prior to ‘Trouble.’ Following that up are four less memorable albeit finger snapping songs in ‘Dare,’ (a great beat overrides a typical lyrical story about taking a chance on love) ‘Boys Like You,’ ‘Closer to You’ and the song which just barely passes inspection in a almost-word-confusion (the word "beach" sounds like something entirely different) and is still a  perfect summertime, breezy song, ‘Sunset Somewhere.'

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what genre Megan and Liz are in. This EP is proof of that - they're a little country, with some great portions of pop and sass mixing in. Most of the songs do tend towards pop tunes that generally stay upbeat with some great instrumentals and complimentary vocals (even if they are break-up songs) plus the writing is actually quite good, and then they turn around and surprise the listener with a moody Miranda Lambert-esque song in ‘Like I Would.’ It’s lyrically a wonderful story as it ponders what may have happened had a girl with a past and emotional baggage accepted her popular, “basketball” star boyfriend instead of leaving him to marry a cheerleader type – the kind of “girl you marry.” It’s a sweet little song that leaves wishes to chance and is full of wistful memories and pretty musical arrangements.  

If you are fans of Taylor Swift or any popular pop sensation, give a listen to Bad for Me. It’s a great collection of songs that is really too short for its own good. I, for one am a fan of these ladies who cannot wait for that full-length album – and a new single coming in the next month. Check out some of their songs in these cute lyric videos!  

Jack Reacher (2013) - Smart, Clever Scripting Enhances Tom Cruise Mystery

Monday, May 20, 2013

How often does a movie come along that surprises you like none other? Not in the sense of explosions or cool effects rather by the elements it doesn’t have. If you are confused, stick with me. All shall be revealed.

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck - A Swoony, Romantic Fairy Tale

Friday, May 17, 2013

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

About the Book:
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Amazon | Goodreads 
Find the Review E L S E W H E R E
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Royal Weddings - Book 1
Genre: Christian Fiction; Romance, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Susanna Truitt likes plans. She’s not a spontaneous person. So rigid is she about her plans, she even holds to a 12-year plan; one that should have ended with her high school boyfriend (a Marine) asking, will you marry me? Instead he proposes a break-up. 

Now she’s nearing thirty, living in the home of her best friend’s aunt and working at her parent’s rib shack restaurant. All while she attempts to start her a career as a landscape architect. What’s a girl to do? The most natural response is to meet a prince, of course. 

That’s when Nate Kenneth walks into her life. He is the one snag in Susanna’s orderly life… and as it turns out, he may be the one person who can change everything.

Doctor Who, Season Five (2009) - BBC's Entertaining Time Traveling Hero

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

For years, I listened while friends bragged about the British fandom that is Doctor Who. It was never something that appealed to my cinematic tastes but 2013 was the “turning point.” Recently, I took a second look. Now starting with the “new doctor,” Matt Smith (can I just say it: he’s adorable!), I gave it, and him, a fighting chance.  

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Teaser Trailer

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hey, dear readers! Check out this fun teaser trailer for ABC's new fantasy "mini-series" or the "spin-off" of Once Upon a Time!
Check out the trailer and then, share what you think! It looks creative and fun - perhaps something along the lines of SyFy's Alice in terms of the unique, modern touches but maybe not as dark...? 
Are you all excited?

Cover Love: Ninth Edition

Why I always have such a blast putting these posts together, I've not a clue! But, I do! While thinking about doing one, I thought to my self, "nope, not enough time has passed, I don't have a good enough selection." Huh, guess I was wrong! Below are some stunners and some I simply included because, well I am excited to read them. Everything from Sparks (because I kinda' like his writing now!) to Christian fiction, there's an eclectic blend below.

Before we get started, as always,  a disclaimer: just because I am sharing the cover of a novel does not mean I am endorsing an author or book.

The Call (2013)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Without the benefit of heart-pounding foot chases or the ring of gunfire chasing the hero into shadows, it is difficult to produce a convincing, edge-of-your-seat thriller. The Call seems to have no problems capturing the very definition of what it means to be enticed into the ins and out of an intelligent thriller.  

Call the Midwife, Series Two (2013)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

There are television shows that are mediocre and cover the dullness with snazzy comedy then there are television shows that are compelling and have a perspective on life very few do. BBC’s new to the block piece of soap opera candy is Call the Midwife and it fits the latter description.  

Little Letters: Edition Seven

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dear 2013, true it’s only been five months since you arrived but… I think I may be ‘in like.’ There is so much frightening about the prospect of a new year; it’s one of the few things that can be both exciting and send otherwise normal people into fits of unusual behavior. Hopefully with your numerical sign ending in “13,” it will be a good year – and one that will spur me into becoming serious about certain things. I have but one request: if you could please move at a more reasonable pace, so that I might meet these goals, I’d be obliged.

When a Secret Kills by Lynette Eason

Monday, May 6, 2013

About the Book:
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell -
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Deadly Reunions - Book 3
Genre: Christian Fiction; Contemporary Fiction, Suspense, Series
Rating: 5 out of 5 
Jillian Carter has been gone for ten years. For that long, she’s buried deep secrets – one that could change the life of the man she has loved all those years and another that will finally set her free. Used to taking care of herself, the Jillian who left all those years ago is not the same woman who is now back. First she has to prove that, on the night of her high school graduation, she saw a murder. Changing her name and appearance has only underscored that nowhere is safe – and the death of her best friend, the man who loved her – Jeff has just proved that; she has to make sure she lives to see the day when she no longer has to run. Most importantly, being back in her Southern home town rekindles old feelings as Jillian comes face-to-face with her past, friends, Serena and Alexia… and Colton – the boy she left all those years ago without a word of explanation.

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

Friday, May 3, 2013

About the Book:
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2013
Genre: Christian Fiction; Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
Cullen McNamara is a farmer. Or that is what he tells himself – his father doesn’t believe nor want that anymore for his son. Taking out a loan, he arranges for his son to attend the world’s fair in Chicago. Coming as a shock, Cullen balks at the idea of leaving behind what his ancestors have done for generations – he knows where he belongs and it certainly isn’t on some Chicago street. Then he meets Della. On the verge of losing his hearing, Cullen is desperate. He doesn’t know how he’ll function once that happens so he takes a suggestion to take lip-reading lessons. Della is a teacher for the deaf who reluctantly agrees to give the man who rescued her lessons in exchange for him being Della’s escort around the fair exhibitions. Before either of them realize what all the time together may mean, Cullen finds his thoughts constantly shifting to his pretty teacher and Della begins to anticipate the nights she spends with Cullen.

I’ve underestimated Deeanne Gist. There I’ve gone and said it. Way back when, I read her debut novel and my younger self liked it, however ever since then, the pull or allure of that novel was never enough to visit one of her subsequent works of fiction. How delighted I was to be a part of a tour promoting her latest. Gosh, golly, this book was interesting. The story is actually a unique one forcing the reader to feel more “at home” in the historical trivia of the fair than being spellbound by the characters. Then there are the quirks of both protagonists’ that make them unique and virtually erases – in those moments – the overall feel that everything is “all about” the fair. Marking this was approximately halfway through the book the thought that flitted through my mind was how the prose used the characters as “background” rather than the setting, the latter being usually what most books color in to enhance everything else.  There was a turning point in which I felt as if finally the characters were slowly coming into their own – as if, finally, they were fully blooming.
Certainly what is the best asset of the story is how Deanne teases her reader’s without revealing everything before it should be. We are aware that the protagonists must be more than a name and narrative but are pulled along following subtle hints rather than told; she ignites and enchants our senses with a rad setting and in the last pages, a tender, beautiful example of all-consuming love. Common sense says there is a reason behind Cullen’s brilliant mind and specifically, inventing a sprinkler system, yet there is little chatter or reasons why for multiple chapters. Shifting into the deft perspective the author has of these characters, it was interesting how casual the interactions were between Della and Cullen. Readers don’t even meet Della until a handful of chapters in and even then, Cullen overpowers what little there is of background information and their banter – most of which is absorbed with the physical desirability instead of a blooming friendship, makes a unique statement. Tying into an interesting palette of a story is the unusual quirks of Della and Cullen not to mention names that are beautiful and well-suited. Della has an usual opinion of men drilled into her by her father and is afraid of close spaces, and Cullen suffers allergies and is losing his hearing. Because of these peculiarities not in spite of, these two are endearing and special.
Although she took some liberties – the author’s note in the back of the book – in order to better illustrate her story, this book is richly drawn in history and takes none of that for granted. Gist pays homage to an important event, weaving into the “fabric” of the story some unexpected (and sad!) dramatics as well as a leading couple easy to root for. Helping to place more of a visual ideal, there are photos of the fair at the beginning of nearly every chapter. It’s a bright spot in the design of the novel that lends authenticity to the book as is the sassy cover art with its gorgeous, soothing hues.
Fans of character-driven novels will find weaknesses (albeit of an inconsequential fashion). The fair takes precedence over everything. If there would be one glaring mistake, it’d be what comes between Della and Cullen. This isn’t really a criticism of the book considering most stories have this same “type” of motivator to create a last-minute will-they-or-won’t-they scenario.
Early on in the book, words miss letters in sentence conversations which is for the benefit of Cullen’s hearing loss. It was more a distraction than anything however, for the majority of the time it isn’t a factor as it is paced better. Far as authenticity goes, it was clever.
Between a literal picture and the deft talent of Deeanne Gist, ‘Fair’ is a must-read for any historical fiction lover. Perhaps the romance doesn’t blossom the same as some of its counter-parts, no matter, the writing and setting far outweigh any minor (really minor!) flaws this reader may have found.

Publisher Synopsis: Gambling everything—including the family farm—Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?
What’s Next from Deeanne Gist: An 1893 Chicago World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character and ability to serve and protect. When he is overcome with debilitating abdominal pain, he stumbles to an infirmary only to discover the doctor is female. Female. But even worse, she has the nerve to diagnose him, the toughest man west of anyplace east, with constipation—an unspeakable ailment in mixed company. - via publisher,
Coming in 2014
With thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purpose.

Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two Weeks Notice

How many of you have those movies you know you love but forget just how much until you watch them again, even if it is for the umpteenth time? This is the feeling that Marc Lawrence’s delightful romantic-comedy evoked when I watched it again recently – and much to my chagrin, for only the second time.

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