Monday, 28 January 2013

Happy Pride And Prejudice Day!

Yes, let's.

It was 200 years ago today that this beloved classic by Jane Austen was published..... 200 YEARS!!!! Am I the only one who is shocked by this????  I don't know how many times I've watched one of the movies or read the book, or saw or read something that was inspired by this book.  I've been trying to decide which movie version I like the best - was it the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley and Matthew McFayden?

One of my favourite scenes from the 2005 adaptation.

The 1995 TV series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle?

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy

 Or how about this hilarious Bollywood version?

(Which I watched and was greatly amused, btw...)

Any other ones?  

These are a few of the books that have been inspired by P&P:
Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesAustenland (Austenland, #1)Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)Twilight (Twilight, #1)
And many many others......

What are your favourites?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mad Musings On: 'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Slightly Spoilerish!!
 Let me get this out of the way first of all..... I absolutely adore Maggie Stiefvater's books!  Her Linger series was one of my Favourite Finds of 2011, which I ranked right up there with Twilight (that's high praise coming from me) and, shockingly to me, I worshiped The Scorpio Races even more!  So, to say I was anticipating reading The Raven Boys, might be a bit of an understatement.   The fact that I had to wait till after Christmas to read this (because of a no-buying-for-yourself-after-November rule) was driving me nutso....  Was it worth the wait?

YES!  And no.....

I didn't absolutely love it as much as the previous books, but I did still like it a lot.  It was really different than I was expecting it to be (that's a good thing).  I didn't even read what the book was about, only what a few reviewers were saying about it.  I was expecting the boys to be some supernatural type of creature that involved a raven, and there would be a girl, and a love story (or the start of one).  So imagine my surprise when the Raven Boys turned out to be....just regular boys!  From a private school.....  

This is the story of a girl from an unusual family of psychics, who meets a group of boys from Aglionby Academy - of which the school symbol is a raven, thus the 'Raven Boys'.  The boys have a very strong connection to each other, and the leader, Gainsey, has a pretty strange passion.  Our girl, Blue, has been told that the first boy she loves, and kisses, will die.   We are led to believe that it'll be Gainsy, but she seems to develop an attraction to someone else, too.   And, of course, we have to wait for the next book to find out what all the 'kissing and dying' is all about *sigh*  Such build up of a major plot point that isn't resolved..... No kissing, not sure which boy it'll be + one of them has a potentially deadly allergy.... and nothing comes of that either..... yet....

However, the pleasure in this story comes from all the surprises - learning about this unlikely group of friends, and Blue and her family.  The story turned into not one of boy-meets-girl, girl-meets-another-boy= love-triangle.   Rather this is a story about friendship, and the bonds that keep them all together.   There is also a mystery to solve.... and that's where the bit of paranormalcy comes into the story, and sets things up very nicely for a sequel.   There are a few shocking twists thrown in as well.  So will Gainsey and Blue and the boys succeed in their quest?  We must wait to find out.......   

Meanwhile, note to self, look up what the ancient King Glendower legends are all about.....

****1/2 Stars

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Final Twilight Party Has A Date....

It was announced today that the final Twilight movie (Which is Breaking Dawn Part 2, in case you were living under a rock....) is going to be released on March 2 - and that means I am now officially in party planning mode!  How am I going to outdo myself after the last party - the one where I made a wedding cake, and we had champagne, and made feather fascinators..... Ahhhh good times.......

Well, all I know is that right now, my co-host, Sarah, and I are already talking 'baby shower', 'cake pop experiments', 'wine labels', and 'name that vampire'.... and I can't forget about the brainstorming on imprinting... OH YEAH, we are going to do that one way or another!

This is my last chance to have a Twilight party, and I suppose I'm wanting to go out with a bang. Have you ever been to a Twilight party?  What were some of your highlights?  How nuts do you think I am......?

Now please excuse me while I Google 'Twilight party decorations' and see what pops up this time.... (Oh go ahead and do it, you know you're curious now...)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Mad Musings On: 'Exiled (The Protector #1)' By MR Merrik

Exiled (The Protector, #1)

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped. 

Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret. 

In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.

So why did I pick up this book?  Well, it's a combination of a few things - (1) I've heard many great things from my fellow Edmonton Book Bloggers  (2)I know he's a local author (From Red Deer! That's less than 2 hrs away) (3)I have an interest in reading more locally this year, as a personal challenge (4) I started following MR Merrick on twitter, and discovered he has a great sense of humour, similar to mine, and, (5) One day Exiled was a free giveaway on kindle, so I snatched it up!
Well, right away, I liked this story because it is told from a boy's POV - which is different that the usual female author and a female lead character.  It leads me to think I can get my sons, who are 14 and 12 interested in reading it too.  I am always looking for books that will get them to read more (My 14 year old doesn't want to finish Catching Fire because, ya  know, Katniss is a girl)  I think it's rare to find a YA author who is male and writes a male character that could interest teen boys as much as Percy Jackson did for my son.
For myself, I was drawn into the storytelling right away and I kept thinking that there are vague similarities to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series - things like there's a secret group of demon hunters, the main character lives apart from them,  and there's a 'bad guy' that wants to open a door and let the demons wreck havoc on Earth.... There is, eventually, also a different dimension that is reminiscent of Steven King, or LJ Smith - I can't quite put my finger on it.  But it seemed so real to me.   After I finished reading, I find myself looking forward to Book #2, Shift, and the newly released #3 Release.
**** 4 Stars

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Mad Musings On: "This Dark Endeavor' by Kennth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #1)
The Blurb:
Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real. They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

Mad Musings:
My 14 year old son brought this home from school one day, and when I was helping him write a book report for it, I realized what it was about - this is a re-telling of a young Frankenstein!  That was all it took for me to want to drop everything and read it.  Mary Shelley's classic story is one of my favourites.  And it certainly didn't disappoint.
So imagine my surprise when I'm reading and - whoa and behold, there's steampunk and alchemy elements in it!  That ticks off two things I've been obsessing on this year (Or, I should say LAST year.... 2012? Remember thisthis, and this grand obsession?)  This was a clever and very surprising imagining of a classic, well-known story.  And just when you think you know what's going to happen next, events unfold to deepen the mysteries.  I don't think this story exactly matches the original Frankenstein story's history, but it's forgivable, since it's a re-telling.  For example, in the original, Victor is obsessed with re-animating the dead because his mother died in childbirth and I'm pretty sure he didn't have a twin brother either.  Not the case in this story...
As much as I enjoyed reading Kenneth's book, I realized afterwards that he is a Canadian writer - score another point!  I'm always on the look out for Canadian writers I like.  He was actually at my son's school!  Doing a reading and signing (thus the reason his class was reading the book to begin with)!!  Where on Earth was I hiding when that was going on? I ask myself now....  *DOH*facepalm*

Will I be reading the next book in the series, 'Such Wicked Intent'?  Well, I did make sure Santa brought it for the boy for Christmas, after all, so I'd say chances are looking pretty good :)  Now, to convince him to watch Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with me....