Saturday, August 31, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
|Image taken from here.|
When Princess Rhea inadvertently condemns two people to almost certain death, due to her escapades, she is horrified. She vows to help the two - a knight, Paladin and a Griffin, Zephen - in the quest: to slay the two Dragons that are terrorizing the land. They journey to meet the Dragons with the help of some friends and along the way discover new things about their lives, their hopes and each other. But will they be able to face the great challenge unscathed?
I was given the chance to beta-read Becoming The Chateran about a week ago. At first, I didn't plan to because I had so much going on already that I didn't think I could handle another project but I decided to give it a go. It would be my first fantasy novel and I was a little wary about whether or not I would like it. I hate science-fiction so I figured I wouldn't like fantasy either.
I was wrong. It was an amazing read and I'm so happy that I offered to read it and thus add BTC to my list of 'epic books I've read' ('cause I always like adding to that list...) My favorite part of the book was probably the characters. Rhea was fun, but she wasn't my favorite character (I never like the main characters as much as I do the secondary characters, for some reason). My favorite character was Zephen - he was funny, loyal, courageous, and just all around awesome; followed by Paladin - Ze Great Hero; Hiyliena - Rhea's girl friend and loyal companion; and Quavarelle, because she was so funny and spirited. She always made me smile.
I can't pick my favorite part (as in scene) of the book, although I can tell you exactly what my least favorite part was - the whole time the little travelling group spent in Leveaus, a really, really, really weird city. It was almost like they were all in a dream and I hate it when characters think they're dreaming in books. But one they got out of there and advanced toward Dragon territory, it was fine :) One of my favorite parts was actually the whole fight with the Dragons because that was really exciting and adrenaline fueled. And realistic. The way they fought the Dragons was totally realistic.
I cried quite a bit during this book (which is always a plus. As a friend of mine once said, "Sad is happy for deep people") especially when I thought that a certain character had died. *SPOILERS* And when Rhea reunited with her family. *SPOILERS ENDED* Overall, Becoming The Chateran is a great story. It's really long but I read it in less than two days (I couldn't keep away from it for too long). Oh, and it has an ambigous ending which leaves it open for a sequel (and the author assures me that several will be forthcoming).
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Hugo is an orphan boy living in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris. He learned to fix clocks and other gadgets from his father and uncle which he puts to use keeping the train station clocks running. The only thing that he has left that connects him to his dead father is an automaton (mechanical man) that doesn't work without a special key. Hugo needs to find the key to unlock the secret he believes it contains. On his adventures, he meets George Melies, a shopkeeper, who works in the train station, and his adventure-seeking god-daughter. Hugo finds that they have a surprising connection to his father and the automaton, and he discovers it unlocks some memories the old man has buried inside regarding his past.
I have a love/hate relationship with this film. I love it because the 3D imagery is gorgeous, and it's set in France and the girl in here (who's my favorite character) mentions Sydney Carton and Jean Valjean and Robin Hood. I hate the plot and I dislike almost all of the characters (including Hugo himself). The first time I watched it, I found nothing to like about it (I didn't catch the Les Mis reference and I thought the 3D film was weird) but the second time around (just today, actually), I caught a few things that made me like it.
I mentioned jokingly to one of my siblings that perhaps this movie should be sold as a companion to Les Miserables (2012). The main character's name is Hugo (the dad of one of my friends thought the movie was the life of Victor Hugo when he first heard the title), it's set in France, Isabelle mentions Valjean and Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier in the Les Mis movie, in case you didn't know) is the station inspector. So it's pretty well connected to Les Mis :)
The biggest problem I had with the plot was that they discovered the secret of the automaton too soon. I believe that the movie would have been better had the driving point of it all been what the secret was. Instead, it's discovered relatively quickly and the rest of the film is actually sort of pointless, in my opinion. It's almost entirely reminisces about Meleis film-making, which I found interesting, but didn't make for a very intriguing plot line.
But enough of my movie snobbery :P Would I watch Hugo again? Definitely. Aesthetically, it's a beautiful film and I love all the little subplots, especially the one between Lisette and Gustave - their friendship/romance was really sweet and I loved the little touches throughout the movie. Hugo had its moments of humor, charm, sadness and romance. Although it's not the best film I've watched, I did enjoy it and I'll watch it again, I'm sure.
"There's nothing wrong with crying. Sydney Carton cries. Heathcliff too. In books they cry all the time." ~ Isabelle, Hugo (2011)
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I don't have anything in my head that would make a long post (besides the 30 Songs post series which I don't feel like doing right now) so I'm just going to talk about a bunch of different things with no rhyme or reason :)
- As you may or may not have guessed from the above picture, I'm sort of obsessed with BBC's Robin Hood at the moment. I finished watching Season 1 yesterday and I'm debating about whether or not to review each season individually or all in one shot (thoughts?). Now, unfortunately I know all the spoiler bits (like who dies and who leaves and who lives) but it isn't really spoiling the series that much for me (and some of the more minor deaths like Roy and Allan's brother did catch me by surprise). My top three favorite characters are Will Scarlet, Robin himself, and Sir Guy (please don't judge - I find that he's an extremely complex character and I love studying him and trying to figure out what he's going to do next). In that order :) Oh, let me direct you to this exquisitely beautiful little fan-video. It's really sad but if you're a fan, you'll love it.
- And my siblings are constantly saying "A clue: no" and "Look, I'm not tryin' to be funny, but..." =)
- My writing is going really well. I've got over 45,000 words in my novel now which means I'm about three-fourths done (approximately). The story is really flying along and I'm just hanging on - I haven't been working in it very much these past few days because of sickness and life in general but I'm planning on getting back to it this week. I'm going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year and I'm going to finish Torn Hopes sometime in September, plot and plan my NaNo novel, write that one in November and then starting revisions on TH in December. And I have another project that I'm collaborating on with Sierra that's based on the 'what if the main character of a book fell in love with the reader' thingy. It's really fun to write but it's been on the back burner for a bit because I have so much other things to do.
- I just want to give a general shout-out to my followers/commenters. Your comments truly make my day and even if I don't respond to every comment, I always read them Thanks, guys :)
- Oh, and speaking of comments, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the Combeferre, Gavroche and Marius from the amazing high school production of Les Mis that I reviewed commented on that review! It was so thrilling.
- I've been reading a lot lately. Some of the books I've been enjoying (or not...) are Tess of the d'Urbervilles (amazing book but so heartwrenching), Wuthering Heights (ugh, ugh, ugh. The worst classic book I've ever read), Harvest of Rubies (a novel I've been wanting to read for a long time - it was excellent) and the Bible. Now, I read my Bible every day but today I finished reading it through in exactly one month. It was very intensive, interesting and just all around amazing. Would I do it again? Definitely. But not in the near future because I've got so much going on right now.
What have you been doing lately? Do you have any ideas for future posts I could write?
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Friday, August 09, 2013
As I've done before with different versions of Les Miserables and Jane Austen films, this is a post listing all the period dramas I've seen that are available on Youtube (for free - you have to pay for some films). There are six all very, very good and I'm not going to rate them, I'm going to list them in alphabetical order.
- A Tale Of Two Cities (Musical) - I love this period drama/musical. I'm going to be featuring several of the songs in the 30 Songs blog series. The only reason I haven't done any in the series yet is because all my favorites are very high on my list. The casting is brilliant (the two that stand out the most, IMO, are Sydney and Lucie), the songs are gorgeous (especially the orchestration) and...it doesn't follow the book very well. I haven't read the full book yet (I'm going to be studying it for English Lit this school year. YES.) but I've read CliffNotes, two abridged versions, etc, etc, so I have a pretty good understanding of the original plot. Still, the musical captures the spirit of the book exceptionally well, which, after all, is part of what really counts (think P&P 1995 vs. P&P 2005). Rating - 10/10
- Bleak House (2005) - My family just finished watching this miniseries together and I was reminded again of what an expert storyteller Charles Dickens is (it inspired me to go read the book again) and what an amazingly talented scriptwriter Andrew Davies is. I mean, it makes my head hurt to just think about how hard it must have been to fit everything together into a workable screenplay (ditto for Little Dorrit). The entire cast is excellent and the only really bad thing about the series I can think of is the music. The music is...meh. Except at the wedding (I love, love, love the wedding music). Rating 9/10
- Little Dorrit (2008) - Words cannot express how much I love this miniseries. It tugs at your heart and doesn't let go until you finish watching it (and even then...). The characters are more than memorable, there are several heart-wrenching, tear-jerking scenes (and some funny ones a.k.a. anything with Sparkler) and the ending is, just, beyond words. I pretty much spend the whole last episode in some stage of tears because it is so emotional. I go from sad, to really sad, to heartbroken, to ridiculously happy all in the space of an hour :) Oh, and the music is gorgeous. I really wish a soundtrack had been released. Rating - 10/10 (obviously)
- North & South (2004) - When I first watched N&S I didn't like it that much but by the second time around, I was hooked. I haven't read the book yet but I'm planning to (as soon as I tick a few more books off my ever-growing 'to read' list). My favorite character is Higgins - I like him even more than Mr Thornton - but I like Margaret as well (she's better in the later episodes, I think). The music is appropriately dark because, while N&S isn't half as dark as Bleak House or Little Dorrit, it still has its moments. Rating - 8/10
- Oliver! (musical) - This movie musical is something of a tradition in our family. Even though we haven't watched it recently, we still quote it a lot (especially when we have sausages - a private joke) and I sometimes sing some of the songs. It was my introduction to Charles Dickens and while Oliver! doesn't follow the book very well (it leaves out several scenes and characters), I still like it. Rating - 6/10
- The Inheritance (1997) - This film usually gets a bad rap among period drama fans for its cheesiness, predictability and general inaccuracy to the book and the time period. All that is true, but it still remains one of my favorite period dramas (and, yes, I have read the book - if you want cheesy/predictable, go read it). Edith and James are a cute couple and the whole film is just sweetness and light and relaxation (sometimes you need that after watching something heavy like Bleak House or Les Miserables). And the music is very pretty :) Rating - 9/10