Saturday, September 29, 2012

Son of Neptune



 
Author: Rick Riordan

Genre: Fantasy, adventure

Series: Heroes of Olympus

Number in series: 2nd
 
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 (a high 8.5)

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 321

Time period: Present 

My overall opinion: This book, like every other I’ve read by Rick Riordan, was fascinating and very well-written. As I’ve said before, he’s a brilliant author. I would give this book a 9 just for the writing. However, I still am not happy with the Greek/Roman-god-mythology. It doesn’t bother me a ton, I just hugely disagree with it, and can’t enjoy this as much as fantasy like Lord of the Rings or Narnia. I think that’s because (maybe…I’m conjecturing here) people really believe some of this. So. I think Riordan could use his skills better. However, I would recommend this!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Reunion



 
Author: Karen Kingsbury

Genre: Family, life

Series: Redemption series

Number in series: 5th (the final)

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 575 pages (large-print)

Time period: Present

My overall opinion: I’ll admit, I expected this one to affect me much more emotionally…and was surprised that it didn’t. I think Karen has improved her writing skills over time! Don’t take me wrong, she was an amazing author even back here, but she has gotten better. This whole series is great! It’s concentrates on Elizabeth primarily, with the family as the other focus.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Movie: The Young Victoria



My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Life, biography (rather a biographical film, obviously), some romance, period drama

Primary actors: Rupert Friend, Emily Blunt

Length: A little under two hours

Based on: Queen Victoria’s early life -- some childhood, but mostly her early life as queen

Time period: 1800’s

Quote(s): "Master the rules of the game until you play it better than they can."

Year it came out: 2009

My overall opinion: I’ve been really wanting to watch this period drama for a while. I thought it looked super fun, very interesting, and altogether great! And now, finally, I got to see The Young Victoria. Overall? I liked it a lot. It was very interesting, the costumes were awesome, and it was good! A few more particulars...




I spotted two people I recognized from earlier movies. One was Rupert Friend himself, who played Mr. Wickham in Pride and Prejudice 2005. He was better here.



Another was Harriet Walter, Mrs. John Dashwood from the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. I knew Wickham was in here, but hadn’t expected Mrs. John Dashwood! I preferred her here...but then, she’s a detestable character in S&S, so.



Finally, I also noticed Mark Strong – he was Mr. Knightley in the 1996 version of Emma -- that's the brown haired Kate Beckinsale one. He played a fairly main character in Young Victoria, but I didn’t recognize him until I watched some of the special features and noticed his name at the same time as his face!

One thing that bugged me...was it just me or did Albert have just a bit of an Inigo Montoya accent? Several of the accents sounded similar to his. Just something I noted. :)



The costumes and jewelry were stunning. I had a few favorite outfits on Victoria, including: the gold dress with roses that she wears to the coronation ball...

 
 
...the mauve (?) dress with lace that she wears when she officially announces her pregnancy to friends and family...and the emerald dress with some blue -- she wore it twice. I love the dark green that's so shimmery!


I was also surprised to discover that the blue dress that is seen often in association with this movie didn’t come into evidence until the very last scene!


I liked the way Victoria did her jewelry. Fairly simple, often gold.

 

I though the effect of the single gold necklace in several scenes was amazing. If you have no other reason you want to watch this movie, the costumes may make it worth-while. :)

I noticed a couple photography things too. One that I really liked was their interesting focus on two particular scenes. The very first opening shot, where the focus “runs” down a line of guards, and also in a scene of wine glasses in the first half of the movie. Again, the focus “ran” down the line -- super cool. :) I also found it interesting how much they used mirrors for seeing people. There were quite a few shots that had a person in a mirror!

As you’ve probably heard if you’ve heard much about this movie, there are a few scenes to skip. As soon as Victoria and Albert’s wedding is done, you’ll want to fast forward (or entirely skip) several short scenes -- probably a little over five minutes worth. One thing that makes this more difficult is that it cuts between and A&V scene and a different unrelated scene...and then back. Just skip the middle scenes too, they aren’t too important. Other than that, the movie was mostly clear -- a few insinuations etc, but not bad at all.

The most exciting scene (I refuse to ruin it if you don’t already know what it is) was well done, and I was impressed! Very well filmed. And I LOVED what Albert told Victoria at the end of the scene... *happy sigh*. Super sweet. :)

So, there you go! Good movie and I enjoyed it. Skip a few scenes, and you’ll be good to go! I think it was pretty accurate historically, but I need to go get a Victoria biography to read now. It deserves a 9!
 



 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giveaway!

Hey, everyone! Just coming by quickly to alert you all to an awesome giveaway on Katy's blog, Legacy of a Writer. It's for Cathy Gohlke's new book, Band of Sisters. I love the cover!


Go here to enter!

Rejoice



Author: Karen Kingsbury
Genre: Life, family
Series: Redemption series
Number in series: 4th
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 530 large-print
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: I enjoyed this book! It was riveting and sad at the same time. Brooke’s book. A good read.

Monday, September 24, 2012

October Kickoff Movie Review Week!

I am so excited to be announcing a week of movie reviews! Coming October 1-7, each day I'll be reviewing a movie I've recently seen. My movie reviews were piling up and this is an excellent chance to get them all out there! So prepare yourselves...nothing but movie review that week!


Note: look closely at that button to see what movies will be reviewed!

Cover Focus: Jewel of Persia


Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White
 
Book blurb from goodreads.com : How can she love the king of kings without forsaking her Lord of lords? Kasia grew up in a poor Jewish home with more siblings than luxuries. But when a chance encounter forces her to the palace of Xerxes, she becomes a concubine to the richest man in the world. She alone, of all Xerxes' wives, loves the man beneath the crown. She alone, of all his wives, holds the heart of the king of kings. Traveling with Xerxes through Europe as he mounts a war against Greece, Kasia knows enemies surround her, but they’re not the Spartans or Athenians. The threat lies with those close to the king who hate her people. She determines to put her trust in Jehovah even if it costs her her marriage. Years of prayers are answered when Kasia's childhood friend arrives at the palace after the war, but even as she determines to see Esther crowned in place of the bloodthirsty former queen, she knows the true battle is far from over. How far will her enemies go to see her undone? Combining the biblical account of Esther with Herodotus's Histories, Jewel of Persia is the story of a love that nearly destroys an empire . . . and the friendship that saves a nation.
Read my review: I’ve read several fictionalized versions of Esther’s story, and this one is my favorite, hands down. http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2011/06/jewel-of-persia.html
Why I like this cover: It’s so interesting! The background looks Babylonian to me. The door is so ornamented and it looks like a ton of work went into it! The title is beautiful and perfectly Perisan. But the best part of the cover is the girl, Kasia. Her dark hair and deep red dress are both wonderful, and so is the shawl that she holds casually over her arms. She’s not beaming at you, but almost has a smile. Make sure you note the bracelet on her arm…it plays an important part in the story!
I highly recommend this book, and not just because of the cover. An excellent read!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Following Gandalf




Author: Matthew Dickerson

Genre: It’s a companion for Lord of the Rings and Hobbit. 

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Non-fiction about a fiction book (?)

Number of pages: 234

My overall opinion: Overall, I really enjoyed it! Dickerson did a good job of not reading into the book too much – pet peeve of mine. :P This book included a lot of quotes from Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, which I enjoyed. One or two chapters got a little too theological about things, IMHO, but that was only a bit. For the most part, this book is great and will answer some of your questions about Gandalf, Il├║vatar, Aragorn, and others. Very good overall, and I recommend it for any Tolkien fan!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Return




Author: Karen Kingsbury

Genre: Life

Series: Redemption

Number in series: 3rd
 
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 532 large-print

Time period: Present…closer to 9/11

My overall opinion: Luke’s story, with some more of Ashley’s as well. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. I think Karen Kingsbury has improved over her years of writing!