Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Avengers, Thor & Captain America

I had the great fortune to see The Avengers on opening weekend. It was highly entertaining, graphically up to par and very witty (Thank you Iron Man). I give great props to Joss Weedon (the director) for having put together a smashing film and especially for the lab scene where you have the majority of the big name celebrities in one room. So much ego to keep in check and work together. Always happy to see Scar Jo and the actor who plays SHEILD's ambassador. Be prepared to laugh. This is one that should be seen on the big screen. Many others can be viewed on your awesome HD screen with surround sound at home, which is what we do most of the time. It's just too expensive to go out to see a movie. Between the price of the movie and the sitter, we can buy two copies of the movie! So, we often save the money, wait a few months and then buy the movie or check it out on Redbox. I'm a big fan of Redbox.

So, then I had to back track and see Thor. We own both of the Iron Man movies. Can't wait for a third. There is going to be a third right? I wasn't sure what to expect from Thor. He didn't make the biggest impression on me in The Avengers. It was well worth the Redbox to watch it and understand his character and how he tied into everything. And how come in all the previews they never once showed Natalie Portman or Anthony Hopkins (at least not that I remember)? I like Thor's character much better now. A well thought out storyline, excellent graphics, and strong acting. British accents are always welcome in my world. Definitely some surprises and too many unanswered questions! I like loose ends to be nicely tied up when a movie finishes. The biggest surprise was the director - Kenneth Branaugh! It's been quite some time since he's directed (too long in my book) and this was not like his typical stuff (Shakespeare) but certainly up to his usual standard so well done Mr. Branaugh. See this one on Redbox or Netflix for a fun watch.

Last comes Captain America, or should I say first. (Technically I think the Hulk in 2008 with Ed Norton is first, but I don't think the studio had planned out The Avengers series movies then, because he does not reprise his role in Avengers. We have a different actor for Hulk there.) Anyways, I watched this the night after Thor and it's a toss up as to which I like better. I was quite happy to see Chris Evans don another super hero uniform (Fantastic Four - Human Torch). Although I think the first half of the movie his body is CG'd to a near concentration camp like status, especially considering that once he transforms he'd a head and a half taller and completely ripped. Since this film and Fan 4 are the only ones I've seen him in, this one gave him the opportunity to show more depth as an actor. I think that's why these films as a collection work, because even though they're superheroes we get to know them individually and see their vulnerabilities. A bit skeptical at all the historical 'facts' shown in this film. There are some awfully advanced planes and weaponry for WWII. I have long been a fan of Hugo Weaving and Stanley Tucci and was delighted to see both in this film. Hope to see the heroine back in something else. A worthy watch.

Which of the Avengers do you like most? Iron Man? Hulk? Captain America? Black Widow? Thor? Or someone else entirely?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Proper Romances - Edenbrooke & Mr. Darcy's Daughters

SO, I am a lover of Jane Austen and romances written in that style and time. What can I say, I love a clean romance with wonderfully written characters I can get behind and villains I can despise. Also seeing what characters and plot lines I can tie back to Jane's books. These two books did not disappoint on any level.

EDENBROOKE by Julianne Donaldson

This thoughtful, wonderfully written, proper romance has a spirited heroine, a handsome troubled hero and more than enough plot twists to keep you guessing and the book in your hands. Highway men, principals, sisterhood, responsibility, families grieving for lost loved ones, other suitors, etc. are just a few of the obstacles Ms. Donaldson puts in Marianne's and Phillip's paths to keep them apart and yet they are nearly together on every page! That is romance 1000 level stuff. As a romance writer I greatly appreciate the difficulty of accomplishing such an impossible task. If you want a lovely romance to read or just a beautiful book, then pick up Edenbrooke and don't plan to put it down. I'll be reading it again soon.

Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston

I am a little wary of novels that perpetuate the story of Elizabeth Bennett's and Fitzwilliam Darcy's family. But I've wanted to read one of Ms. Aston's books for a while now. When I came across this one, I couldn't resist. (Not to mention it was second hand and a great deal!) I'm so glad I picked it up and read it. We find ourselves in London with the Darcy's five daughters who are staying with Colonel Fitzwilliam and his wife Fanny. The two young boys are left back at Pemberley, while The Darcy's are off to Constantinople. These five girls get into a lot of trouble, hi jinks, mixed up engagements, rule breaking and more cause more than their fair share of mayhem in the London scene. We also meet some old friends, the Gardiners, aunt Lydia, Caroline Bingley Warren to name a few. Enjoy this proper romance with a few improper twists and characters to see how it all turns out in the end. It won't be how you expect.

Do you have a good clean romance you can recommend for my next read?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

LDStorymakers 2012

If you are a writer, you are in need of a few things.
Ideas to write about.
Something to write them on. (paper to netbook to laptop or anything in between)
A writer's/critique group.
And if you can scrape together the money - a writer's conference to attend
(Agents and publishers are a whole nother blog)

Enter The LDStorymakers 2012 conference review.

Huge thanks to Jamie and Heather. They were the conference chairs and I'm sure gave more hours of their lives than I'll ever know to make it so awesome!

The classes vary from writing basics on character, world building etc. to high end how to publish your own book, query letter writing and more.

The conference is inspiring in every way: ideas you get, polishing your pitch, interacting with other creative intelligent creatures some of which you stand in awe of and never work up the courage to speak to (Elana Johnson, James Dashner, Kevin J. Anderson, Liz Adair, to name a few. Although, I did finally speak to Jeff Savage and Annette Lyon, who turned out to be lovely funny people.), and getting the kick in the pants you need to motivate you to keep writing and journeying to publication in one form or another.

You have the chance to chat with authors you have met before and make acquaintences with new ones. You celebrate with those who have become published authors since you last saw them and cheer on the ones with the most rejections because some agent, some publishing house somewhere will want it and most importantly because the work they have bled and cried over is worth it.

This year I had the opportunity to take my teenage niece and watch her writing world expand exponentially in a matter of three days. When I asked her if she wanted to go back next year she replied, "Absolutely!"

I think that sums it up. Was the LDStorymakers conference worth it? Absolutely!

What have you done to learn more about one of your hobbies?