Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spotlight: Roy Rogers

Just so you know, I think Roy Rogers is one of the handsomest guys EVER. Really.

Okay, so it is a bit of a weird shirt...

His real name? Leonard Franklin Slye. His childhood? Tough. His life in general? Tough. His testimony? Amazing.

With Dale Evans, his second wife and "Queen of the West" for the "King of the Cowboys."

In their old age.

Lord of the Rings Extras in Books (aka, My Wishlist)

I was browsing Amazon today and discovered something. They have lots of companion books for Lord of the Rings, from movie guides to atlases. And since I have, in the last few months, become quite Lord of the Rings obsessed, well, I loved this. :) Saying it's my wishlist is partially joking...but not totally. ;) Mostly I'm doing this for my benefit (because I love Lord of the Rings and I also love lists). However, you may also find something new worth looking at. Here goes!

The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad

I'll admit, it looks awesome. According to the reviews, it mostly talks about the Third Age, which is when Hobbit and Lord of the Rings took place. It also has some about the First and Second Ages, where Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales occurred. Mind you, I'm getting all this from reviews and the info on Amazon. There are regional maps (of the Shire, the Misty Mountains, Mordor, etc) and thematic maps (of the vegetation, climate, population, language spoken, etc). Now I really want to read it...and I'm in luck! Our library has it.

The Lord of the Rings Weapons and Warfare by Chris Smith and Christopher Lee

I'm just going to say it once more here. Everything that I'm saying is from either the reviews that others have left on Amazon, or from the product information there. Okay? So. Though I may tell it as truth, it's not from my personal experience. It has information about the Lord of the Rings characters, and even a little history from before the trilogy! I'm presuming this is probably before The Hobbit too. It does indeed appear to be written from a military perspective (duh, take a peek at the title), but has plenty of pictures. It even talks about the Dead Marshes! 

The Making of the Movie Trilogy by Brian Sibley

It apparently has over 300 photographs, from all three films. Sibley talks about the actors, the wardrobe, the miniatures, the computer graphics. He goes into baking lambas (you know, the elf biscuit things), creating Treebeard, the moth used by Gandalf for a messenger, etc. Also quotes from the actors, and interviews with a couple. One reviewer states that it's more about the movie and the graphics than the actors.

Russell looks at the concept art in the trilogy. Pictures include everything from storyboards and pencil drawings to paintings and action shots. Some of it doesn't appear in other Lord of the Rings companion books! It also has a bunch of pictures of maquette models: apparently these include things like trolls, Shelob, Treebeard, etc. It's organized by artist as opposed to by object. Over 200 pages, and apparently the pictures are really awesome!

Right quick, I want to point out that Gary Russell also wrote "Art of" books about each of the individual films. I have had a friend tell me that the one for Fellowship of the Ring, at least, was quite good. So check into those if this interested you.

This one is said to be a scene-by-scene breakdown of Lord of the Rings. Apparently there are also games (?) and interviews with the filmakers. It also mentions mistakes that ended up in the final movie (though you could mostly find that on and a look behind the scenes. Some say there's a lot of the stuff that makes you say, "Awesome! I didn't know that!" I love those things.

It's said to be the "complete guide to lands, legends, histories, languages, and people." It explains everything and anything you can find in any of Tolkien's books concertning Middle-Earth, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Unfinished Tales, The Silmarillion, etc. Tyler fully explains the Elvish system of writing, as well as including maps and family trees. Now, having looked at customer reviews, several are saying it's awful and mixes "fact" with "fiction." Also they say it's a bit confusing. So there are better ones, perhaps, but this is one to consider. For example, see the one below.

Having done some more research, I'd say this is a better Tolkien companion than the one above. It has way more ratings in general, and definitely more 5-star and fewer 1-star ratings. So. What does it have to offer? One reviewer states that it has definitions for pretty much every word, person, and place that Tolkien uses. It looks like Foster did a ton of work on this, referencing characters where they have several names by each name. He seems to report the "facts" without mixing in his opinion, unlike some. I'd say, go for this Tolkien guide, thought it's a little outdated.

I've known ever since I first saw the movies that I would want a book full of pictures from Lord of the Rings. I considered buying all the individual books, since they have one for each of the three movies, but this one seemed the most complete and the cheapest. :) I still don't own it and have never read it, but I hope to someday! Hundreds of photographs. Everything is in here, from places to people to animals. This guide includes the pictures from the other three pictoral guides, plus rounds it off with finale pictures. There's even a chapter about Aragorn and Arwen's wedding and coronation! Also final ones about the hobbits. I'm definitely buying this one as soon as possible.

Now here's one that I actually have read:

Well, I have to admit I didn't think a whole lot of this one. Sure, it had some pictures. Not nearly as many as I'd hoped for. It had a one page bio about each primary character, plus a large picture. I was hoping it would be like my Narnia movie guides for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, but compared to them, this was a flop. Now, this is all my might think very differently. But I recommend that you read it before you buy it!

This book appears to be aimed more at kids. And it's not a movie guide, whatever the title. According to the product description, it's "the official children's storybook covering all three Lord of the Rings movies." 250 some photographs in 160 pages. If I bought this, it'd just be for the pictures. Because I read the real books. :) There's only one review on Amazon, but it's a positive one. So!

I didn't hear of this until today. And I'm not going to go out and buy it. But it does sound a bit interesting! This set includes original manuscript scores and a talk with the composer, Howard Shore. Also includes a rarities CD. For more, see the really long review on Amazon. It's over my head.

Note that photo guides/visual companions have been done for each film by Jude Fisher and David Brawn, seperately.

Other books you might enjoy include Creatures of the Two Towers by David Brawn and The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook by Ian Brodie. There are no doubt many more. :)

Coming someday soon...a post with a variety of Lord of the Rings movie posters! :)

PS: If you've read any or all of these...I'd like to know what you thought of them!

Check Out Jane Austen Week!

My wonderful blogging friend, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, is hosting a Jane Austen week from August 7-13! I know you'll want to participate. Each day, she'll do a special post concerning Jane Austen, plus she'll have questions for other bloggers (like you and me) to fill out! I know you'll want to participate. Go and check out Miss Elizabeth's post about it by clicking here or on the button at the top of this page! Or the one below. I had to include it was so hard to decide between putting up an Emma button or a P&P one!

Jane Austen Week by Elegance of Fashion

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Letter Writer

Author: Ann Rinaldi
Genre: Life, childhood
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Historical fiction
Number of pages: 216
Time period: 1800's
Main characters: Harriet, Nat, Violet
Exciting events: A huge slave revolt
Passage from book: He came to me when I was just eleven, Richard Whitehead did, and asked me to be his mother's letter writer.
My overall opinion: I enjoyed it! It was rather violent, I should mention. It's about one of the worst slave revolts of the 1800's. Nat Turner, specifically. But it was interesting!

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Header!

Hey everyone! Note the new header that my friend, Stella, made for me! I'm totally definitely completely in love with it. :) Make sure you check out Stella's design blog, Dream Design Studio, to see more samples of her work! Also, I'm sure she'd  be delighted to make you anything you need for your blog. :) Thank you SO much, Stella!

The Gates of Zion

Author: Bodie Thoene
Genre: Adventure, romance, life, war
Series: The Zion Chronicles
Number in series: 1st
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 368
Time period: 1940's (late)
Main characters: Ellie, David, Rachel, Moshe, Yacov
Exciting events: Packed with them.
My overall opinion: I enjoyed it again. :) One of my favorite series.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Twilight of Courage

Author: Bodie and Brock Thoene
Genre: Adventure, war, life
Series: Actually, this large book fits right inbetween the Zion Covenant series and the Zion Chronicles series by the Thoenes. :)
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 614
Time period: World War II
Main characters: David, Rachel, and a whole ton of others.
Exciting events: It's pretty exciting.
My overall opinion: I actually found it slightly confusing for the first 150 pages or so, because SO many new characters were being introduced. However, I (having read those two Zion series so many times) loved how this book kinda tied them together. Filled in some of the stuff you hear about in Zion Chronicles, and gave background information. So it's a huge book, but if you're really into this time period, or the Thoenes, you'll enjoy it. :)

And Then There Were None

(previously published as Ten Little Indians)

Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 173
Time period: 1800's
Main characters: There are a bunch.
Exciting events: Murders! And lots of them...
My overall opinion: It was exciting. And weird. Really weird. What quirks! A very exciting Agatha Christie.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Edmund Bertram's Diary

Author: Amanda Grange
Genre: Romance, journal, life
Series: Amanda Grange has written multiple diaries of various Jane Austen male characters.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 385 (large-print)
Time period: 1800's
Main characters: Edmund, Fanny, Mary, Henry, Tom
Exciting events: What you would expect from a Jane Austen. :)
My overall opinion: It was good. Mansfield Park isn't one of my favorite stories, but the diary was well written, and seemed to follow the book closely.


I wasn't kidding about the winner coming soon! Using the amazing, I have generated our winner! Without further ado, the winner of Penny Zeller's book Kaydie is...

Megan! (lovetoread205@....)

Congratulations, Megan! I have emailed you and will wait to hear back. :)

Thank you to everyone who entered! I have even more author interviews (and giveaways!) in store, so keep stopping by!

Giveaway Closed!

The giveaway for Kaydie is closed! Winner coming soon! :)

Undercover Pursuit

Author: Susan May Warren
Genre: Adventure, romance
Series: Missions of Mercy
Number in series: 3rd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 218
Time period: Present
Main characters: Scarlett, Luke
Exciting events: A girl who's supposed to be an undercover agent, but isn't. It's exciting, all right.
Passage from book: How could she have lost her sister's wedding dress?
My overall opinion: I enjoyed this one a lot too!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mission: Out of Control

Author: Susan May Warren
Genre: Romance, adventure
Series: Missions of Mercy
Number in series: 2nd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 218
Time period: Present
Main characters: Brody, Veronica
Exciting events: Concert tour? Attempts to kill a young singer...yeah!
Passage from book: Was it too much to ask for a little peace and quiet on his so-called R&R?
My overall opinion: I enjoyed this one more than the first one! It's an exciting and sweet story.

Giveaway on Legacy of a Writer!

I'm pretty sure I've posted about giveaways on Legacy of a Writer before...Katy has some wonderful ones! Take this one for example. She's giving away a copy of Cara Lynn James's newest book, Love by the Book. Just the title is fun, not to mention the story itself! I  haven't read it, but it sure sounds great. :)

There it is! Fun cover, yes? :) So click HERE by August 7th to enter!

Enter the Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Remember that the giveaway for a paperback copy of Penny Zeller's book, Kaydie, is closing on Wednesday the 27th! So get those entries in! Go HERE to enter!!!! You can win a signed copy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Movie: Aladdin

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Main characters: Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar
Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale, animated
Series or set: Disney
Primary actors: Scott Weinger, Linda Larkin
Length: 1 and 1/2 hours
Based on: The classic fairy tale
Time period: Fantasy
Exciting events: A flying rug, a wicked magician, a beautiful get the idea. :)
Quote(s): Three wishes, to be exact. And ixnay on wishing for more wishes. That's all. Three. Uno, dos, tres. No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds.
Year it came out: 1992
My overall opinion: I enjoyed this one a lot! I think that it was maybe my favorite Disney, except Cinderella. The genie was hilarious, and the whole thing was fun.

Point of No Return

Author: Susan May Warren
Genre: Romance, adventure
Series: Missions of Mercy

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 216
Time period: Present
Main characters: Chet, Mae
Exciting events: This book is packed with them. It's set in Afghanistan, I believe, or some place near there, and is full of warlords etc. :)
My overall opinion: It was fine, good for a one time read.

Song: Be My Love

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5
Singer: Katherine Jenkins
Type of music: Opera?
Length: 3:11
My overall opinion: This is one of my favorite songs by Katherine Jenkins. She's a beautiful singer! Oh, skip to second 18 to start on the song itself. :) 

CD: Emma

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5
Type of music: Soundtrack
Composer: Samuel Sim
From the movie: Emma (the 2009 version)
List of songs:
  • Emma Main Titles
  • Emma Woodhouse was Borne (that's how they spelled it...)
  • Expansion Project
  • Rescued from the Gypsies
  • Knightley's Walk
  • Dolls
  • The World Has Left Us Behind
  • Arrival of Little Knightley
  • Donwell Dancing Again
  • Superior Men
  • Matchmaker
  • Walk of Shame
  • Playing Harriet
  • Without Suspicion
  • Frank is Free
  • Mr. Elton
  • Blind Endeavours
  • The Last Dance
  • Lost and Found
  • Only People We Like
  • The Ship's Cook
  • Cliff Tops
  • Secrets
  • It's Snowing and Heavily
  • The Seaside
  • Love Story
  • Most Ardently in Love
My overall opinion: <3 Yes, I love this. And I have the Mp3's, actually, not the CD. But since I bought the entire album, I figured it counted as a CD.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spotlight: Galadriel

Galadriel (Lord of the Rings)

Played by Cate Blanchett.

I believe that she appeared in all three of the Lord of the Rings films, but I'm not 100% certain. She is also going to be in The Hobbit, coming out 2012.

"This is Nenya, the Ring of Adament. And I am it's keeper. This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will."

Not made by me, but isn't it pretty?

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."