A question of film and lit

I want to see that book made into a film! We hear this and say this all the time, but do you ever think, I want to see that film made into a book? I have been wondering about this for a while. There have been many times when I watched a film and thought–this would have been so much better as a book. Every have that feeling? Often it is because I didn’t feel the film had the time to explore the story as much as the book would have and that gets me wondering where it might have gone had it been a book.

What movies would you turn into books if you could?

What are some of your favourite books that have become movies?

 

*As a side note, I know I haven’t been around much lately everyone, and I apologise for that. I miss reading blogs and interacting with you all. Work has been crazy and it has been pre-testing time for my boys in preparation for their state mandated CRT’s. Busy, busy. I’ve also got a pile of books to read–but that is a problem I am willing to smile about.

Anyway–I love you guys, and as soon as things settle I will be back in action full time, stalking your blogs with nonsensical comments and hugs.

 

 

Support your local indies! Read a book!

 

Quest of the Broken-Hearted (Possible Spoilers?)

Some very interesting comments and viewpoints on this blog. Even if you don’t want to read the post, you might find the comments worthy of a look-see.

Legends of Windemere

By Kayla Matt By Kayla Matt

I can say that only know of 3 characters who are confirmed to survive Legends of Windemere.  The rest are still up in the air, which has left me with having to create alternate endings.  One such ending can lead to a stand-alone book that gives a character closure if she survives: Kira Grasdon.

I will say that at least 1 person will die in the Sari/Luke Callindor/Kira Grasdon love triangle.  At least as things stand right now, so I have plans for Windemere to continue in each scenario.  If alive, Luke and Sari would join the other surviving champions as cameos in future series.  Maybe even together.  As for Kira, I have two paths if she survives.  One is that she marries Luke and joins him on the cameo circuit.  The other is that she doesn’t get Luke and plunges into darkness.  Hence, that story…

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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing AmeliaReconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter–now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.

Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will find Reconstructing Amelia just as gripping and surprising.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is definitely one of the best novels I have read this year. This is somewhat of a difficult book to review, as there is so much I want to say, but I want to do so without spoilers.

First of all, if you are a mother, you will feel close to this book from the beginning. Kate’s search for answers about her daughter’s life and death are dramatic, engaging and heartbreaking. Kimberly McCreight is an emotional storyteller. Her characters are realistic, her story concise and her details all lined out to make for a reliably good novel.

There were times whilst reading this book that I found myself so enthralled with the world of Amelia, Sylvia and Kate that I forgot about my own reality. The way the author layered her story, with mystery, young love, hope and desperation and involved so many story lines without making any of it confusing or hard to believe was masterful.

The writing itself was strong and flawless and kept me interested in what was going to happen next all the way through. I was particularly impressed with the way Kate’s character was written. The realisations she had about her successes and failures as a parent were beautiful. Her determination to find out the truth never wavered, and I respected her a lot by the end of the novel.

The teenaged angst, and the mean-girl mentality was displayed in such a bold way, that it made me thankful once more that my children are home schooled. Watching the evolution of a girl into a young woman in this story was incredible. Kudos to the author for understanding what kids go through in this modern world. The involvement of social media and the new “tortures” of daily school life were handled very well.

If you are looking for a book that you won’t want to put down and that you will want to read again, this is one that I absolutely recommend. This review is based on a goodreads firstreads giveaway copy. All opinions are my own.

The Winter King by Alys Clare

The Winter King: A Hawkenlye 13th Century British MysteryThe Winter King: A Hawkenlye 13th Century British Mystery by Alys Clare

All Saint’s Eve, 1211. An overweight but wealthy nobleman, desperate for an heir, dies at the celebration feast he’s thrown in his own hall. A natural death . . . or at the hands of his reluctant new wife?

Sabin de Gifford, an apothecary and healer of note, is called to examine the body, and concludes that he died of a spasm to the heart. But she is troubled, all the same, and beset by suspicions. Did the man really die of a heart attack? Or was something more sinister to blame?

There is only one person Sabin can turn to for help: fellow healer Meggie, daughter of Sir Josse d’Acquin. But what she requires of her is dangerous indeed . . .

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Winter King is one of my favourite historical books of the season. When I began reading this book, there was a little confusion for me since I came into it in the midst of a series, which I had not originally realised, but soon, the book made perfect sense without having to have read the previous.

There are so many things to love about this novel and the characters in it. First of all, the author stays true to the dialogue and speech patterns of her characters from the beginning to the end. Reading this is like getting the juicy secrets of an age gone by directly from the source.

Alys Clare is a pro at creating tense situations for her characters and making the reader do their own investigating and contemplating to figure out the mysteries at hand. She doesn’t reveal too much at once, ensuring that the excitement stays at the forefront of her reader’s mind.

I liked the way she portrayed the villains in this book as much as the way she made you trust and have faith in the heroes. Unlikely heroes are always my favourite anyway.

This book started out with some excitement and ended the same way.

If I had to choose one thing that I didn’t love as much about this novel, it would be the way that a lot of the action is recounted through the speech of the narrator and the various characters rather than being experienced first hand. This gave a somewhat blunted view of the happenings, in my opinion.

Still, I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to hearing the thoughts of others who read it. Recommended.

This review is based in a complimentary digital copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

The Land of Honey by Chinenye Obiajulu

The Land of Honey by Chinenye Obiajulu

9781590951798- Front main (3)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Land of Honey by Chinenye Obiajulu, is a very emotionally deep novel about the bonds we form with those we love and the trials we face attempting to make a place for ourselves in this world.

I was impressed with this book early on for a multitude of reasons. The author does a good job explaining things that readers outside of the culture she describes may not recognise, and yet she never makes you feel as though you are being spoken down to. I appreciated that she took so much time introducing the character’s situations, but that she didn’t miss a beat when it came to unfolding the story at the same time.

Immigration is a tough and sensitive subject with many layers and opinions, so setting a book around the subject was a risky choice. I thought she handled it very well. This is a story that is both eye opening and heartfelt.

As the reader, you get to explore the emotions of the characters as well as experience the obstacles they face as the book moves along. The decisions they make throughout this book will make you stop and consider your own choices in life and how they have affected you and those you care for.

One very impressive thing about this author’s writing style is the way she allows her characters the ability to grow and change. You feel as if they have matured and become more aware of themselves by the finish. This, to me, is the sign of a talented author. Her characters are three dimensional and interesting.

This is a book that I think readers of literary fiction will love, and will want to share amongst those who are close to them. I recommend that you read it and see what you think.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

View all my reviews

Journey to Rainbow Island by Christie Hsiao

Journey to Rainbow IslandNew York Times Bestseller

Yu-ning thinks her perfect life on Rainbow Island will never end—until a nasty dragon called the Obsidigon returns from beyond the grave. Now her beloved island is in flames, her best friend has been kidnapped, and the island’s Sacred Crystals have been stolen. To make matters worse, she must venture into the dark corners of the world to uncover secrets best ignored, find a weapon thought long destroyed, and recapture seven sacred stones—without being burned to a crisp by a very angry dragon.

With the help of her master teacher, Metatron, Yu-ning embarks on a dangerous journey to overcome not only the darkness attacking her home, but also the scars of sadness that mark her own heart. And while most people just see a normal kid, Metatron—and a few other unlikely allies—pledge their lives to the dark-eyed little girl with a magic bow and a crooked grin.Journey to Rainbow Island by Christie Hsiao

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the beginning I was on the fence a bit about this book. There are some truly beautiful passages, even within the first couple of chapters, but I didn’t feel that I got to know much about the main character immediately. This prevented me from being able to care about her early on in the story.

As things went on, I found I was surprised by how lighthearted this story is. There is darkness to be fought, but the overall sense of love and peace and equality does not ever fully leave the reader. I thought this was a nice change, especially in fantasy.

This book is a difficult one to place in an age appropriate category. It seems too young and not complicated enough for many adult readers, but a bit longer and deals with deeper subjects than one would expect for a very young audience. I think it will depend on the maturity of the reader and their dedication to the act of reading to decide how they will feel about this work.

Here’s what I really liked:

This author has a strong talent for world building. Her land is filled with magic and wonderful description that puts the reader right there in the scene. She is also very creative and I liked the way she passed from subject to subject with a smooth flow of words and actions.

The book is never boring and the dialogue keeps the reader engaged and understanding the thought processes of the various characters.

There is a lot of emotion in this work and the views of the author on serenity, human relationships and peace are clear in her writing. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters and appreciated the time she spent in creating them. I would have liked to have seen more personal thoughts and history on the main character.

Would I recommend this book? Yes–to certain audiences as mentioned above. I would encourage parents to give this book a read with their children. There will be a lot to provoke discussion as you read.

Overall I thought this was a well-written work with many interesting factors. I like this author’s writing-style and look forward to more of her works.

This review is based on a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Dark Surrender by Erica Ridley

Dark SurrenderDark Surrender by Erica Ridley

TRAPPED IN DARKNESS . . .

Violet Whitechapel committed an unspeakable crime to save a child. To escape the hangman’s noose, she takes refuge in a crumbling abbey with secrets darker than her own. When its master offers her a temporary post, Violet cannot say no. Just as she begins to see him in a new light, her past catches up to her and endangers them all.

THEIR PASSION BURNS BRIGHT . . .

Alistair Waldegrave keeps his daughter imprisoned in the black heart of his Gothic abbey. As he searches for a cure to the disease the villagers call demonic, his new governess brings much needed light into their lives. But how can the passion between them survive the darkness encroaching from outside their sheltered walls?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Dark Surrender” by Erica Ridley is another fine example of this author’s ability to create stories that stay with the reader. Her books are atmospheric and ripe with chemistry and tension between her characters.

What first caught my attention about this novel was the way the characters were introduced using a bit of mystery and intrigue. I was immediately taken with the main character and the recalling of her past that began to emerge as the story progressed.

The dialogue was well handled in this novel, seeming appropriate for the setting and the tie period. The dark and Gothic feel of this book was not as strong as expected, but I thought it worked for the individual story.

I did contemplate whether or not the main character would have become taken with her mysterious love interest so soon when she’d previously been treated so unfairly by men, but in the end that didn’t make much difference to the overall story.

There were a few unexpected plot twists and a lot of tense moments that made for good reading. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a bit darker and more complex romance.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Call to Kickstarter: The Undone #1

Thank you to Ionia for letting me help a friend promote his new comic project.  Michael Dolce, has launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to fund:

The Undone

Art by Soussherpa

Rewind your life…24 Hours At A Time.
What if you could rewind time? Get a do-over whenever you wanted? Would you use your power to strike it rich on the lottery? Bet it all on the underdog to win the Super Bowl and cash in?

Of course you would…but you’d be wrong.

You’d find out the future is in constant flux and nothing happens the same twice. Your numbers are always off the second time around and instead of cashing in on that miracle catch that never happened, you’re indebted to a lot of unsavory folks looking to collect.

So what’s left to do?

The Undone #1 Page 1: Art by Soussherpa

The Undone #1 Page 1: Art by Soussherpa

Easy…you move to New York City and take your powers to the stock market. Because the global actions of movers and shakers don’t seem to vary much from day to day. And from there, you build a life, a good life, rewinding when you have to and slowly, over the course of a couple of months, building yourself up into a mover and shaker yourself.

That is…until they come calling. The Undone…a secret society of traders who have been working this angle for years, with the same abilities you thought only you possessed. And now, they’re pissed. Because nobody likes it when someone muscles in on their territory. Especially not a narcissistic, snot-nosed kid like you.

Sounds like a great story, huh? Help Mike and his team make this happen by donating even $1 and spreading the word. There are tons of juicy rewards to choose from. Click on any picture or this paragraph to go to the Kickstarter page and learn more.

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The Undone #1 Cover

The Undone #1 Cover

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The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

The ButcherThe Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

From the author of the acclaimed suspense novels Creep and Freak and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a “top of the line thriller writer,” The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is like a bad habit–but in a good way.

Things I love about this book:

The pace was right. The story revolved around a few different central main characters. Each person was interesting in their own right. If you love hating a character, the main villain here will please and delight you. I hated him so much that I wanted to reach into the pages of the book and do away with him myself.

The story of Matt and Samantha and their dual dealings with one another and Edward was well imagined and fulfilled. The trials they faced in their relationship and the ultimate way it went, kept me interested in another aspect of the story rather than that of just the serial killings.

A lot of unexpected things happen in this novel and just when you think you have it all figured out, something changes and so does the reader’s perspective. I liked never knowing quite what was coming next. I will warn other readers that if they are squeamish or if they are offended by harsh language, this may not be the book for them. If these things do not bother you, then I definitely recommend you check out this book.

This is a complex story that will not only keep you guessing, but nearing the end of the book, make you feel conflicted on how you want it to end. On the one hand (no pun intended there, author) you will want to see a certain character get what he deserves, but hope it isn’t as he wants it. On the other hand, you must make a choice between wanting justice for an innocent person who died terribly, or the salvation of a character that did his best to redeem himself before the end of the story.

The stuff that bugged me:

I took relatively few issues with this book, but there were a couple of things that bothered me. By the last few chapters one could plainly see where the book was going to end and how, and it did. I almost didn’t need to read the ending to figure it out. The author lined up all of her events and characters and did the big surprises all in a row toward the end, so there was no wowing finish factor to be had.

Lilac conveniently disappeared when she was no longer needed.

Finally, and perhaps this is just my perspective, but the serial killer didn’t act all that much like a serial killer, but more of a crazed lunatic with psychopathic tendencies. His MO seemed to change from having a signature or calling card if you will (not the obvious one) to just randomly getting a thrill from killing without a pattern. If he was smart enough to evade capture for more than three decades, I find it difficult to believe that he would suddenly become non-specific about who he killed and how, or even consider doing things in such silly, easily tracked ways toward the end.

This was a man who was plainly a narcissist. He was a bully and so self assured that he could do whatever he wanted without being caught that I could see him taking risks but the back story and the reason he chose the type of victims he picked didn’t fit in keeping with his later actions.

The Police would have had to be completely ignorant if they couldn’t put two and two together on what was happening at the retirement home.

Still, this was an entertaining, fast-paced read with a lot to make me love it and feel good about recommending it. The story was creative and original. If you like getting thrills and chills, try this one out.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Making out with blowfish by Brian Sweany

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Making Out With Blowfish  
By 
Brian Sweany  

 

 

Release Date: 6th March 2014

 

 

 

Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Summary: 

This is the part in our hero’s story where he looks back and reflects upon the man he is today, but the truth is I’m still searching for him. I am still lost. Not the guy who thought I had found my way out of the wilderness . . . not the guy I wanted to become.


When we last saw Hank Fitzpatrick in Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, he seemed to be finally figuring things out. He had a girlfriend. He had a life. But his secrets were yet to be discovered, his demons yet to be exorcised, and soon he would have no choice but to face them both. Gone is the boy we came to love, replaced by a man we struggle to like. Welcome back to Empire Ridge. Making Out with Blowfish is fear and loathing in the suburbs as told in Brian Sweany’s uniquely uninhibited voice.


 

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Author Bio:
Since 2000, Brian Sweany has been the Director of Acquisitions for Recorded Books, one of the world’s largest audiobook publishers. Prior to that he edited cookbooks and computer manuals and claims to have saved a major pharmaceutical company from being crippled by the Y2K bug. Brian has a BS in English from Eastern Michigan University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1995. He’s a retired semiprofessional student, with stopovers at: Wabash College, the all-male school that reputedly fired Ezra Pound from its faculty for having sex with a prostitute; Marian University, the former all-female school founded by Franciscan nuns that, if you don’t count Brian’s expulsion, has fired no one of consequence and is relatively prostitute-free; and Indiana University via a high school honors course he has no recollection of ever attending.
Brian has penned several articles for EverydayHealth.com about his real-life struggles to overcome sexual abuse as a young boy. Making Out with Blowfish is the sequel to his debut novel, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, and both books draw inspiration from this experience.

Brian has spent most of his life in the Midwest and now lives near Indianapolis with his wife, three kids, and two rescue dogs. For more details, check out the author’s website at: http://www.briansweany.com.  

 

Connect with Brian Sweany on: 

Other novels by Brian Sweany:
 
 
 
 

 

1. MAKING OUT WITH BLOWFISH is about midlife crisis and tragedy. Did you use your own experiences to inspire your writing?

Much of my first book, EXOTIC MUSIC OF THE BELLY DANCER, was inspired and informed by my own teen hijinks. There was a shameless precociousness to my cast of characters. They were vain, self-absorbed, and melodramatic. In other words, they were teenagers. In the second book, we see these characters not as prom royalty or captains of their sports teams, but as mothers and wives, husbands and fathers. Their mistakes matter more. Their impulsiveness hurts people. Curfews are replaced by accountability. I tried to take cues from the book LITTLE CHILDREN by Tom Perotta, which in turn was inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s MADAME BOVARY. Suburbia rendered as art, as a familiar but uncomfortable canvas for humanity. Not that my protagonist, Hank Fitzpatrick, doesn’t do his best to rage against the dying of the light. Rest assured he continues to struggle with a serious case of arrested development. But then again, if our 30s and 40s were so awesome, we wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis.
Much like the first book, I tried to take cues from my own experiences. I’m in my early 40s now, married almost 19 years, with a beautiful wife and three great kids. That being said, my wife and I don’t spend our days drinking champagne, popping bonbons in each other’s mouths, and toasting to our evolved awesomeness. Couplehood, parenthood and adulthood can all be just as frustrating as childhood, if not more so. Only now, we don’t have any excuses. We have all the tools, and yet we still screw up. That’s what really sucks. But it’s the struggle and the occasional ugliness that makes the joy and the beauty so much more fulfilling. If you can filter out all the white noise on any given day and tell yourself that there’s no place you’d rather be than where you are, you and hopefully everyone around you are going to be okay.

2. You have worked in publishing for quite some time, what is your publishing world like? How has working in the publishing world helped you to be an author?

For the last 15 years, I’ve worked as Director of Acquisitions for Recorded Books, one of the world’s largest audiobooks publishers, and before that as a book editor right out of college. It’s been an interesting business, especially more recently with the evolution of digital technology. E-books and e-audio have changed the game, changed the rules. Gone is the bookstore on every corner, and in its place is the “Buy Now” button. It’s the golden age of the impulse buyer. Five years ago, your average reader would never walk out of a Barnes & Noble or Borders (RIP) with 10 books under her arm. Last month, I looked at my credit card bill and saw ten Kindle purchases I don’t even remember making. It’s a double-edged sword; at no point in the history of publishing have more readers had more access to more books, and yet you could argue that because of this accessibility, at no point in the history of publishing has it been harder for an author to make a living wage.
My work has allowed me to gauge reading tastes in the general public and given me access to the eyes and ears of editors, agents and authors at the highest level, but the most fundamental way it’s helped me is through reading. For me, it’s a compulsory activity. I don’t have the option not to read books. In any given week, I review maybe 15-20 manuscripts for recordability and commercial appeal. I’ve heard some writers say that they don’t like to read other people’s work because they feel it taints their voice or unduly influences their writing style. I’m here to tell you that those writers are idiots. To quote Stephen King, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

3. MAKING OUT WITH BLOWFISH reference music and pop-culture, discuss the music and pop-culture form your teens-thirties. What influenced you the most?
I will say the music and pop culture references are not quite as pervasive in the second book as they are the first book, and that was by design. When you’re in your teens, seemingly everything you do is some kind of milestone, some kind of best-ever or worst-ever moment that raises you up or knocks you down. And invariably, there’s a song or pop culture event you associate with those moments. To this day, when I hear a certain song, I get a little lightheaded and swear I can smell my high school sweetheart’s perfume. While these moments still exist as you get older, they’re fewer and farther between. If being young is about emotionally investing yourself too much in even the most mundane of moments, getting older is about chronically taking what matters most for granted. As for what influenced me, I’m like any Generation X’er. My influences changed as society changed. When the optimism and debauchery of the 80s faded into the rearview mirror, our rockers put away their hairspray and spandex and replaced it with facial hair and flannel. The Sunset Strip deferred to Seattle. The unbridled cockiness of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” became the fearful, post-AIDs acclamation, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” This transformation spoke to me, and I think we see the characters in Making Out with Blowfish acting as microcosms of these changes. Beth, Hank’s wife, is more serious and somber in this new book. And much of the time it’s not by choice, it’s because Hank is too afraid to take the wheel. Too afraid to be the patriarch the world has wanted him to be since midway through the first book, and way too excited whenever he hears an 80s hairband song come on the radio.

EXCERPT

“What’s the point of loving something only for it to be taken away?”
“The point is in the loving,” Beth says. “Our willingness to endure the heartbreak and to still travel down the road together hand in hand even though we know how it’s going to end is exactly what makes life worth living and people worth loving.”
And with those words, seemingly on cue, Darius Rucker stands in front of a microphone on The Late Show. He settles into the chorus of a country song I’ve never heard: “Don’t think I don’t think about it, don’t think I don’t have regrets, don’t think it don’t get to me, between the work and the hurt and the whiskey.”
I try not to smile.
Beth stands up, pulls me out of bed with her.
“One more dance?” she says.
I take her hand in mine. “How about we keep that number a little more open-ended?”
“Forever then?”
“Forever it is,” I say.