Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cinema Saturday (Purposely & Purposefully on Wednesday) {@FoxHomeEnt @AmmaAsante]


My Cinema Saturday posts about movies usually get posted on, well, Saturdays. For this one, though, I wanted to post it during the week when more people might see it.

Belle
20th Century Fox
August 26, 2014
Rated PG; 104 minutes
starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode
IMDb /Blu-Ray on Amazon


Belle is a movie I was interested in seeing back when it was in theatres, but it never came within an hour of me. So, I was super excited to be able to watch it recently.

About the film: 
The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England. (from IMDb)
and the trailer:



 Based on a true story, Belle is the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a biracial young woman in 18th century England. It is a story I was wholly unfamiliar with prior to the film. I wished to see it both for the appeal of the story and how beautiful the filming seemed to be.
Now that I have seen it, I'm at least a little bit on love with Belle. It was even better than I had hoped. A cast of great actors - Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Felton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as Belle - gorgeous filing and costumes, and such a compelling story, come together to make a great movie.
After seeing it, I did look into the 'real' story a bit more. While, Belle does romanticize some parts of Dido's story and some events are moved around, the heart of her story is unchanged. It is a fantastic story of perseverance, self discovery, and overcoming the odds. It's also a love story and a look at a point in history you may not know much about or see portrayed very often. The writing does a very nice job not only giving us Belle's life but a great glimpse into the time and characters.

Belle
 tells a remarkable story, of Dido Elizabeth Belle and the period in Britain, and does so beautifully. This is a movie I am so happy to been able to see and one I know I want to see again.
 

Fans of Bright Star, Amazing Grace and/or historical based-on-a-true-story dramas or romances should absolutely watch Belle.



Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne was published to coincide with the film's US release. and tells the true story. (The synopsis does give away some things that you may not want to know are coming if watching the movie first.)



There is a ten minute extended preview available on Amazon.







digital copy of Belle watched thanks to ThinkJam and Fox for honest review

Waiting On Wednesday [@lbkids @Jenn_Rush]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:
Reborn (Alienated #3) by Jennifer Rush


An action-packed, romantic, and suspenseful third book in the Altered series.

The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can't rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger--especially Nick's.

Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences.

Little, Brown Young Readers will publish Reborn on January 6, 2015.

Add Reborn to your Goodreads / pre-order from Book Depo / see on Amazon

(my reviews of Altered and of Erased, the first two books in the series)

The Altered series is a fun read and I'm excited to see where things go  - the surprises in Erased have me curious about what's to come!


That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me or link me to your WOW post in the comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Blast: The Beautiful Ashes ~ Jeaniene Frost [@harlequinbooks @Jeaniene_Frost]

Title: The Beautiful Ashes
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publisher: Harlequin
Expected Publication: August 26th, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, New Adult

the beautiful ashes
About The Beautiful Ashes

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

Buy Links Amazon | BN | Kindle
  goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47   

About Jeaniene Frost: Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international
bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her. For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

Excerpt:



A familiar song was playing, but I couldn’t remember the name. That bugged me enough to open my eyes. A wall of black met my gaze, slick and smooth like glass. I reached up to see what it was, and that’s when I realized my hands were tied. “Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche, my mind supplied, followed immediately by, I’m in the backseat of a car. One that was well taken care of, going by that flawless, shiny roof. With those details filled in, I also remembered what had happened right before I’d passed out. And who I was with.

“Why are my hands tied?” I said, heaving myself into an upright position. For some reason Adrian didn’t have a rear view mirror, which was why he had to glance over his shoulder to look at me.

“Does anything make you panic?” he asked, sounding amused. “You’re tied up in the backseat of a cop-killer’s car, but I’ve seen people get more upset when Starbucks runs out of pumpkin spice flavor.”

Anyone normal would panic, not that it would do any good. Besides, I ran out of “normal” a long time ago, when I realized I saw things no one else did.

Speaking of which, why wasn’t I in pain? The lump where Mrs. Paulson had whacked me was gone, and my shirt was red from blood, but aside from a mild kink in my neck, I felt fine. When I pushed my shirt up, somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see smooth, unbroken skin on my abdomen. Well, that and a bunch of crumbs, like I’d eaten a dessert too messily.

“Why does it look like I have angel food cake on my stomach?” I wondered aloud.

Adrian snorted. “Close. It’s medicine. You were injured.”

“You can tell me how I’m not anymore,” I said, holding out my bound hands, “after you untie me.”
Another backwards glance, this one challenging.

 “You may be the calmest person I’ve ever been sent to retrieve, but if I tell you now what you want to know, that will change. So pick—the truth, or being untied?”

 “Truth,” I said instantly.

  He let out a laugh. “Another first. You’re full of surprises.”

  So was he. He’d just admitted that he regularly kidnapped people—which was how I translated “retrieve”—so I should be trying my damnedest to get free. But more than anything, I needed answers.

Besides, I still wasn’t afraid of him, and somehow, that had nothing to do with him magically healing me.

  “Truth, Adrian,” I repeated.

  He turned once again and his gaze locked with mine, those odd blue eyes startling me with their intensity. For a moment, I could only stare, all thought frozen in my mind. I don’t know why I reached out, awkwardly touching his arm to feel the hard muscles beneath that bulky jacket. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Yet I couldn’t make myself pull away.

  Then I gasped when his hand covered mine. At some point, he’d taken off his gloves, and the feel of his warm, bare skin sent a shock wave through me. The touch seemed to affect Adrian, too. His lips parted and he edged over the back of the seats— He yanked on the steering wheel, narrowly avoiding another car. A horn blared, and when the driver passed us, an extended middle finger shook angrily in our direction. I leaned back, my heart pounding from the near collision. At least, that’s what I told myself it was from.

  “Dyate,” Adrian muttered.

  I didn’t recognize the word, and I was at a loss to place his accent. It had a musical cadence like Italian, but beneath that was a harsher, darker edge.

“What’s that language?” I asked, trying to mask the sudden shakiness in my voice.

  This time, he didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Nothing you’ve heard of.”

  “I picked truth, remember?” I said, holding up my bound hands for emphasis.

  That earned me a quick glance. “That is the truth, but you don’t get more until you meet Zach. Then we can skip all the ‘this isn’t possible’ arguments.”

  I let out a short laugh. “After what I saw on Detective Kroger’s face, my definition of ‘impossible’ has changed.”

  Adrian swerved again, but this time, no other car was near.

  “What did you see?”

  I tensed. How did I explain without sounding insane? No way to, so I chose to go on the attack instead.

  “Why were you in my hotel room? And how did you heal me? There isn’t even a mark—”

  “What did you see on his face, Ivy?”

  Despite his hard tone, when my name crossed his lips, something thrummed inside me, like he’d yanked on a tie I hadn’t known was there. Feeling it was as disturbing as my inexplicable reaction to his clasping my hands.

  “Shadows,” I said quickly, to distract from that. “He had snakelike shadows all over his face.”
I expected Adrian to tell me I’d imagined it, a response I was used to hearing. Instead, he pulled over, putting the car in park but keeping the engine running. Then he turned to stare at me.

  “Was that the only strange thing you saw?”

  I swallowed. I knew better than to talk about these things. Still, I’d demanded the truth from Adrian. It didn’t seem fair to lie in return.

  “I saw two versions of the same B and B earlier. One was pretty, but the other was old and rotted, and my sister was trapped inside it.”

  Adrian said nothing, though he continued to pin me with that hard stare. When he finally spoke, his question was so bizarre I thought I’d misheard him.

  “What do I look like to you?”

“Huh?”


  “My appearance.” He drew out the words like I was slow. “Describe me.”

  All of a sudden, he wanted compliments? I might have finally met someone crazier than me.

  “This is ridiculous,” I muttered, but started with the obvious. “Six-six, early twenties, built like Thor, golden brown hair with blond highlights, silvery blue eyes...you want me to go on?”

  He began to laugh, a deep, rich baritone that would’ve been sensual except for how angry it made me.

 “Now I know why they came after you,” he said, still chuckling. “They must’ve realized you were different, but if they’d known what you could see, you never would’ve made it out of that B and B.”

 “You can stop laughing,” I said sharply. “I get that it’s crazy to see the things I do.” Lots of kids had imaginary friends growing up. I had imaginary places, though at first, I didn’t know I was the only one who could see them. Once my parents had realized that what I kept describing went far beyond childhood fancifulness, the endless doctor visits and tests began. One by one, diseases and psychoses had been crossed off until I was diagnosed with a non-monoamine-cholinergic imbalance in my temporal cortex.

In other words, I saw shit that wasn’t there for reasons no one could figure out. The pills I took helped a little, though I lied and said they got rid of all my hallucinations. I was sick of doctors poking at me. So whenever I saw something that no one else did, I forced myself to ignore it—until Mrs. Paulson and
Detective Kroger had tried to kill me, of course.

  Adrian did stop laughing, and that unblinking intensity was back in his gaze.

  “Well, Ivy, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not crazy. The bad news is, everything you’ve seen is real, and now, it’ll be coming for you.”

“Brace yourself, Ivy. You’re about to meet a demon.”





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Monday, August 25, 2014

Six Feet Over It ~ Jennifer Longo (earc) review [@jenlialongo @randomhousekids]

Six Feet Over It
Random House Books for Young Readers
August 26, 2014
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

With Six Feet Over It, I like the cover and I like the book, but I don' think the cover reflects the book very well. Yes, there's a headstone, a girl and it's in a cemetery, but that girl is not very reflective of Leigh.

Fourteen-year-old Leigh is not loving her father's choice to move them from their seaside home to a inland cemetery. Leigh knows people are going to give her a hard time for where she lives, it is high school, after all; she just wishes they would get their facts straight. It's not like there are dead bodies in her basement.

But death is definitely a part of Leigh's life. For years it felt like it was just around the corner while her older sister Kai had cancer. Now, with Kai in remission and the family moved to live in/run the cemetery, it's Leigh's job.

Leigh's family is a dysfunctional one, to say the least. Her father moved the family with seemingly no discussion from the only home the girls ever had; her mother spends her days pining for and painting the sea. Neither seems to know what's going on with their daughter. The one person Leigh could share her pain with - the stress of moving, the trouble at school, the loss of her best friend - is her sister, Kai. Except she can't.

Leigh's feelings for her sister, her feelings about herself in relationship to her sister are all sorts of jumbled.

I like that Leigh does not always make sense. She has a story we slowly find more out about as the book progresses. It's not just her new, unconventional home causing turmoil in her life, she's holding in a lot of guilt and grief. The location and her job provide an interesting outlet for all that's in Leigh's head.

The thing that did not work for me in Six Feet Over It, was Leigh's age. She's fourteen when the novel starts (closer to fifteen, but still fourteen). The 'slightly-too-old-for-her' character the synopsis mentions is almost twenty. That seems a bit more than 'slightly.' I wanted Leigh to be older, but her age did seem to fit, especially with how much time passes during the novel. Some of the mentions of what happened the year before, while in Mendocino, seemed to young, though. For an eighth grader, some of what happened seemed a better fit for a character a year or two younger.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book. Leigh's family - the whole lot of them - is definitely kooky but they are well developed and realistic, even in their eccentricities. Leigh herself is an interesting that I liked quite a bit more as the story progressed. Six Feet Over It will also make you want some York Peppermint Patties.




Another book you might also enjoy: Putting Makeup On Dead People by Jen Violi




advance digital copy received from publisher, through NetGalley for review
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