Fortnight of Fright: “Beyond the Wall” by Danielle E. Shipley

FoF2014

As of October 10th my latest project with Xchyler Publishing has launched: “Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”. My short story, “Date Due”, has the honored grand finale spot at book’s end. In brief summary:

For an eccentric bibliophile, any and every book is magic. Even more so when the book’s home is a hidden library with an impossible secret: Every story on its shelves has yet to be written. And the library’s self-appointed guardian means to ensure they never are, no matter whether the future authors elect to do things the easy way … or the fatal one.

You read that aright – a library full of books unwritten! Say… I’ll bet that means even “Beyond the Wail” will have sat upon one of its shelves, once upon a time. What would its librarian have made of the anthology, I wonder?…

BEYOND-THE-WAIL-front-web

All right, my lovelies. Which new friend should I meet today? Someone from right here in the Red Fireplace Room, I think. I’m feeling a bit tired to go roaming through our Library’s unexplored spaces; I just want a nice new read today.

Hmm, what have we on this shelf? Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss. A paranormal anthology? Perfect! Let’s see what chills and thrills are in store.

Of Mice and Monsters by Tirzah Duncan. “There is a man who twists the necks of caged mice…” Oh, Benjamin, what a beastly creature you are. A fine conversationalist, though, I must give you that. But that phantom wind will do for you if Tina comes to harm – any harm that she’s not already inflicting on herself, the poor, sick thing. Some lovely writing, here. Passionate. Unflinching. Continue reading

Advertisements

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Title: Peter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Publishing Information:  May 11, 2006 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Middle Grade, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Peter and the Starcatchers series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a retelling of a timeless tale, one that brings you back to the beginning before Peter was Peter Pan. If you are looking for a heartfelt story that reminds you what life was like before you “grew up,” then this is the book for you.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on retellings and Amy’s post bringing you back to the origins!

Hey there, lovelies! This month the gals and I went a little younger in our pick and chose Peter and the Starcatchers as our May read! We mainly chose it because the narration is done by Jim Dale and we loooove Jim Dale!! I actually started off listening to this one but didn’t have much time so I picked up the print copy and was very impressed by both! Much like I did for our post on The Goose Girl, I am going to talk to you guys about some retellings that you can read if you are interested in Peter Pan. Spoiler alert: Peter Pan is actually one of my least favorite stories from my childhood (as well as one of my least favorite Disney movies…ugh, Wendy) but I still felt myself enthralled by Peter and the Starcatchers. I loved the way in which it went back to the beginning, and helped show who Peter was before he became Peter Pan. The relationships were fleshed out and the whole novel was action packed and fun. It was the ending that really cinched my love for this novel. I teared up a bit and my heart melted, I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

If you want a love story that will surprise you and make your heart ache…

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily is one of the most lyrical and heart wrenching stories that I have ever read. From page one I was taken by Tiger Lily and they way she was vastly different from those around her. I fell for Peter as she did, little by little she gave into him and let him into her heart. Through Tink’s eyes I was able to see how she couldn’t quite give enough and wasn’t exactly what Peter needed. There were times I was so frustrated with her and just wanted her to be what he needed her to be even though I knew it wasn’t her, I knew she didn’t know how to give in without giving up herself. I’ll be honest, the ending was so heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time that I read it over and over. I felt my heart break and mend almost simultaneously. It was phenomenal. The story was riveting. It was heartbreaking, tender, harrowing, compelling, breathtaking and all around gorgeous. I recommend it to fans of strong heroines such as Scarlet, fans of Peter Pan and readers looking for a fantasy novel that will make them feel an array of emotions.

“If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl’s heart, after all.”

If you want a darker retelling that will leave you shocked and raw…

The Child Thief by Brom

Brom completely re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan, turning it into a thoroughly detailed and layered story. Avalon was once a magical and beautiful paradise, until man showed up on its shores. The “man” in question being the Captain and his crew (saw that one coming, didn’t you?) The crew is made up not of not savage men, but puritans (but really, what’s the difference?) looking to start a new civilization. Brom tells the tale of horror, betrayal and dedication through a child narrator named Nick, a narrator I quickly fell in love with. Nick is a strong minded boy, who attempts to stand up for what is right while shirking away from what would be “easy.” If you are looking for a more adult retelling, one that will leave you raw then pick up The Child Thief…

Those that I have had on my TBR for a while…

Continue reading

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Candice From The Grown-Up YA

Bard

Today we have Candice from The Grown-Up YA chatting about different adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing! As I told you guys before, this play has the best adaptations! Enjoy her reviews and clips below and then head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve loved this one since I was young and feel like I get more out of it every time I watch it! My favorite thing about this particular play is the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice. I’ve always been a fan of witty characters who banter with each other, although wouldn’t surprise me if the reason I loved these types of characters was because of these two!

Today I’m talking about 3 different adaptions of this play, all of which I encourage you to go watch! I’ve focused on the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice, and about how great I found these performances to be!

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon version

When I heard my favorite director was going to be adapting my favorite play starring my favorite TV couple I swear I squealed for DAYS. I literally became the ultimate fan girl. What made this one even better is that it is chock full of Whedon-esque actors.

With a modern day setting and only minimal changes, I was very glad to see that this adaptation stuck to the original play. At first I might have had a teensy bit of trouble separating Benedick and Beatrice from Wesley and Fred, but after a little while that went away. The film definitely has that indie, college film student, foreign film vibe going on but I thought that just added oh so much to the story.

One thing I did notice about the portrayals in this adaptation was that it was very somber at times. While in other adaptations the interactions between these two characters are active and almost border-line comedic, I felt this one took on a darker tone and certain lines felt like a punch in the gut. There was a little back story created between Benedick and Beatrice, so hearing some of their dialogue changed the meaning from light banter to pain-tinged arguments.

Much Ado About Nothing (2011) – Wyndham Theatre/DigitalTheatre.com Version (aka Doctor Who edition)

Now for some more fangirling! Did you know that there is a Doctor Who edition of Much Ado About Nothing? Did you? DID YOU?! I didn’t either.

But there is!!!

So maybe it’s not ACTUALLY a Doctor Who edition, but it does star some of my favorite Doctor Who actors! David Tenant and Catherine Tate star as Benedick and Beatrice and honestly these two can do no wrong! This is actually a stage version but you can watch it at DigitalTheater.com (I know I will be!)

I watched a few clips from it and man oh man David Tenant really knows how to stretch his acting legs. While I love how he acts anyway, there is nothing better than when he really gets going. His whole body expresses what he is saying, his facial expressions are top notch, and throw in that Scottish accent and it’s like something magical happens! And Catherine Tate is just phenomenal period. I love her humor and the way she can deliver a line. While I can’t see her as anything but Donna Noble, the little I’ve seen of her as Beatrice was perfectly endearing!

One thing that I think is oh so important to these roles is the chemistry between the two actors. Benedick and Beatrice, while disliking each other, have this perfect chemistry that allows them to banter and bicker flawlessly. It’s a battle of wits, to the death! Tenant and Tate have great chemistry already which I think makes them both perfect for this bantering couple.

And then there’s this scene…

David Tenant never ceases to entertain me!

Much Ado About Nothing (1993) – Kenneth Brannaugh version

I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t talk about the performance that made me absolutely fall in love with this play, the 1993 film with Kenneth Brannaugh, Emma Thompson and every other popular 90s actor.

Let’s be honest: Kenneth Brannaugh is phenomenal. I have yet to see a role he has played that I have hated. Ditto times a million for Emma Thompson. These two are like the Hollywood dream team in my opinion and their performances as Benedick and Beatrice were spot on.

I love this particular scene. Even though they’re both being pretty scathing to each other, you don’t feel like you’re watching something completely awkward and horrible. It’s like either of them could say something absolutely horrible to you but with the way they said it you would probably laugh and go have a beer with them afterwards.

What strikes most about these two characters is their range as actors. They can both express a myriad of emotions and feelings and thoughts seamlessly. These two characters certainly have a way with words and their tongues are extremely quick; while I’ve never played either role (obviously) I imagine with all those words their meaning can easily be missed. I never felt that Brannaugh nor Thompson let me miss a single thing thanks to their spot on delivery.

This play truly has it all: deception, love, mystery, romance, deception (so much that I listed it twice!), comedy, wit, pain, passion… Out of all Shakepeare’s plays, this one really captured my attention and my heart.

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Lily from ChaptersPagesWords

Bard

Today, we have Lily from ChaptersPagesWords reviewing the (in my personal opinion) FANTASTIC Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing!! This is one of my favorite Shakespearean adaptations EVER! Enjoy Lily’s review and don’t forget to head over and check out a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

Title: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Main Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton

My Rating: 4 stars

I very much enjoyed this movie not only because of the plot but because of the characters, setting and overall experience. I would recommend this movie to anyone thirteen or older because I found this movie fun and entertaining.

Much Ado About Nothing was a great retelling of the play by Shakespeare. Branagh does a good job of taking the best part of the play and making them into the movie.

The movie is set in Messina in Italy so the setting throughout the entire film is beautiful. The setting is an important aspect in this film and was in my opinion well chosen. Much Ado About Nothing is meant to be set in 1598 and Branagh chooses to show this in an interesting way that made it fun for me to watch.

This movie / play is a comedy and it did make me laugh. So many things go wrong in the plot of this movie and the actors/actresses become characters that you sympathise with  and grow to love. Although the film is in Shakespearean language, the movie was easy to follow and at times the plot benefited from this asset.

I think this movie was very well adapted from the play. With the amazing choice of cast and setting, this movie was overall very enjoyable and loyal to the play.

That’s all for this review, I hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you soon!
Happy Reading!
Lily x
Twitter                                                                                                                                      Goodreads

Bard on the Blogs: Hamlet Review by Kathrine from Neon Yeti Reads

Bard

Today we have Katherine from Neon Yeti Reads sharing her review of Hamlet by William Shakespeare! Hamlet is one of my favorite plays – and quite possibly was my favorite play to teach. I once wrote a scholarly essay titled, “Mother May I” all about the relationship between Hamlet and his mother! Good times! Take it away, Katherine!

P.S. Don’t forget to head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!!

Title: Hamlet

Author: William Shakespeare

Publishing Information:  Originally published between 1599-1601, published in a quarto edition in 1603

For me, Hamlet was always the Shakespeare play I stayed away from for the longest time. It’s the longest of all of Shakespeare’s plays and probably the most intimidating because of that. However, earlier this year, I decided that I would finally pick up this play with the handy guide of No Fear Shakespeare and plenty of notes to help me along with reading it. I am so thankful that I did by the end of it though!

My favorite aspect of Hamlet is that there are so many different layers to our main character, Hamlet. After the death of his father and seeing the Ghost appear to him with a message of revenge, he starts slowly going crazier and crazier. I really loved the internal conflict in his character about whether or not he was acting crazy or if he was actually, mentally insane. I struggled with trying to figure out my own opinion throughout the book, and I went back and forth. Some of my favorite scenes included the moments when Hamlet was with his royal family, acting strange every time, but a little different type of strange as well. There was so much royal drama – it felt like this time period’s version of a political drama.

Another aspect of Hamlet I enjoyed were the minor characters – people like Ophelia and the Queen. Both girls were very interesting characters, especially considering the historical context of the play and when it was written. There is a little bit of dialogue about the relationship of the British Crown to the people; the little underlying themes of palace drama was really interesting. When everything starts going down in the last two scenes, everything gets really creepy and I could not stop reading! Everyone has their own ulterior motives and it’s all about figuring out who is up to what.

Of course – the language of Shakespearean time takes a little bit of getting used to. In the past experience I have had reading Shakespeare plays, I have tried to read them in large chunks so I can stay involved in the language of the play. While I wasn’t able to do that with this one, I really liked the footnotes and annotations both from No Fear Shakespeare and in the edition of my book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this play! I think that it really added so much to my Shakespeare reading experiences so far and I love the way that he is able to tie in so many underlying themes. It is a classic tale with so many themes that have been used in all of literature. It really shows how much influence Shakespeare has had across all genres and I am quite happy with how Hamlet turned out!

P.S. The movie version of Hamlet starring David Tennant was really good, so I would suggest watching that to help understand the play while reading! It adds a whole new dimension to the story.

Guest Post: Cat Winters on A Vampire Novel That Isn’t a Vampire Novel

Hello friends!! I am insanely excited to share a guest post with you by one of my favorite authors, Cat Winters!! I am sure that you all remember how much I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds. You will also be lucky enough to read my rave review of The Cure for Dreaming tomorrow! For now, take a glimpse at Cat’s musings on how The Cure for Dreaming came about, and what it was like for her to write a vampire novel that wasn’t really a vampire novel.

 

A Vampire Novel That Isn’t a Vampire Novel

by Cat Winters

CureforDreaming_cover

Back in 2007, I signed with my current literary agent because of a manuscript I wrote called The Vampire’s Wife, a suburban satire/love story for adult readers. Twilight was a brand-new book at the time, but I hadn’t yet heard of it. My kids were both under ten and a long way off from reading YA, and my attention was directed toward reading and writing adult fiction.

As most readers know, an epic vampire craze quickly took off around that same time, especially once the Twilight movie debuted in 2008. My vampire novel was making the rounds to publishers during all of the hubbub, but it was a book that fell somewhere in the middle of literary fiction and chick lit, so no one knew quite what to do with it. Despite the thirst for vampire entertainment, the novel, sadly, never found a publisher.

By the time I started writing my first YA novel (and ultimately my first published novel), In the Shadow of Blackbirds, the vampire fiction market was already becoming oversaturated. Readers tired of their fanged heroes and heroines, and I put the idea of ever writing another vampire novel aside. My focus became my shiny new WWI-era ghost story.

However, the Twilight craze, with all of its Team Edward/Team Jacob merchandise, the fan fiction, and even the astounding number of Twi-Rock bands, still intrigued me. I tucked an idea into the back of my head: Wouldn’t it be interesting to one day write a novel about Victorian teens who fall in love with Bram Stoker’s newly published novel, Dracula? How would young women at the turn of the twentieth century have reacted to that classic, sensuous tale of a seductive “gentleman” vampire? What would the boys think when reading about a man who overcomes women by biting into their bare necks and sucking the life straight out of them? Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Guest Post by Eldritch Black

FoF2014

 

Hello, friends! I am incredibly excited because today I have Eldritch Black, the author of The Book of Kindly Deaths (reviewed – HERE & spoiler alert: I loved it) on the blog today. He is sharing a pretty fantastic post written by Horasmythe Spindleclef, the food critic for the Grimwytch Gazette, on some of the many places to frequent around Grimwytch – and which places you should avoid, as well. ALSO he has been so kind to sponsor a giveaway, so read on and after you’re finished, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of The Book of Kindly Deaths, AND a gorgeous necklace featuring the lovely book. Happy reading!

Unearthly Delights

Greetings, my name is Horasmythe Spindlecleft, also known as the gourmet of gourmets. If you’ve ever dined in my modest little Inn “The Fat Cobblefoot”, situated on the side of the Foggypeake mountains, you’ll be well aware of my extensive knowledge of food. And the finer things in life.

You’ve no doubt heard of my infamous twice-fried bat wings and hair of Hackthin tart, creations of exquisite beauty, though I say so myself. Not to mention my highly regarded Doormouse eye on toadstool and very-berry-sherry sauce.

It’s with great pride that I can announce I’ve been appointed chief scribbler of food reviews for the Grimwytch Gazette.

Below are the very first of many pearls of wisdom concerning places where weary travelers may sip and gorge upon unearthly delights. Outside of The Fat Cobblefoot.

As well as places to avoid like Fungal-throat plague.

The Malady Inn

A Fairly good stock of Old Catwhist, shame about the clientele.

The Malady Inn is a worn old building on the side of the Eastern Blackwood Road. Inside is a cosy, dingy room and its fairly affable landlord, Mr. Barrow. His bar is well stocked for the most part, although not to the scale of The Fat Cobblefoot. I chose a dish of sainted duck, goat-foot soup and a pint of Old Bramble’s Tipsy. It was an adequate meal until a table of Babbleslithers sat beside me and ruined the meagre ambience. Upon finishing their food, one of the more portly among them threw up his entire course through his left eye.

An unpleasant, vulgar end to a mediocre, but serviceable evening. Continue reading

Summerfall by Claire Legrand

Good morning, friends!  I have something exciting to share with you guys today! As some of you may know, the fabulous Claire Legrand has a new book called Winterspell coming out in September. For those of you who don’t know about it here is the blurb of awesome:

Winterspell

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

HOW AWESOME DOES THAT SOUND?! Well, the best part about this post is that there is a prequel novella releasing TODAY!! Here is the blurb:

SUMMERFALL teaser 10

Rinka is a faery, passionate and powerful, determined to maintain the tenuous peace between faeries and humans.

Alban Somerhart is a human, a reluctant king trapped in an arranged marriage, desperate to prevent war.

Their love could save the kingdom of Cane . . . or shatter it forever.

In this captivating novella, prequel to the upcoming Winterspell, Claire Legrand weaves a story of magic, political intrigue, and forbidden love that sets the stage for the rise of a wicked queen and the journey of a human girl named Clara . . .

Ahh! I honestly can’t tell you how excited I am for these babies!  Now for the super fun part! Claire was so gracious to allow me to host a little giveaway for a Winterspell swag pack!! The deets are below!

LEARN MORE ABOUT CLAIRE:
BUY SUMMERFALL
THE GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Happy reading, my friends!