Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Artist - Perfect Relationship between a Film and the Audience

The Artist

Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius

Released on: May 15, 2011

When you watch The Artist, you are whisked away on an amazing journey of storytelling. Using the creatively rich history of simple film making to touch the audiences of today's technology-crazed moviegoers is a feat unto itself. Though an individual's imagination is formed by their own experiences, the genius of this film is that it can reach and connect with everyone. Each element from the camera angles, lights, sound, acting, etc... played the right tone individually and as an ensemble to engage the audiences' imagination in the journey of a man looking to find his true self.

Ripper, Stefan Petrucha - Book Trailer

This is a simple trailer for a very intriguing book.  It does give you a small glimpse of the mystery involved.  What do you think?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Born Wicked - The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1

Cross-posted on KidLitFrenzy
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Young Readers
Release date: February 7, 2012
Source: Advance Readers Copy
Audience: Young Adult

Good Reads Description:
"Blessed with a gift..."cursed" with a secret." 

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave. 

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. 

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood - not even from each other.

My thoughts on this book:
A historical YA fantasy fiction set in the time of the Puritan-like society sounds like a winner, right? I am happy to say, “Yes!” I was a bit wary of this novel when I started to read it. I found myself getting angry and flustered in every chapter. About three to five chapters in, I figured out why. The author, Jessica Spotswood had me totally invested. I was experiencing the same emotions as the Cahill sisters. It started with the political and societal environment but is soon got deeper than that. I felt Cate’s anger at her mother. I resented the loneliness and feeling of neglect that Maura felt as a middle child (this hit very close to home being a middle child myself.) I envied the wisdom Tess gained from her curious and intellectual nature. Underlying it all, there is the constant undeniable push and pull of their bond as sisters and witches.

Even more surprising, I didn’t find the obligatory love triangle (between Cate, Paul, and Finn) trite or characteristically familiar. The guys are on equal footing. There is no extra talent or leg-up for either of them. (Ms. Spotswood does foreshadow a possible paranormal consequence to one of the pairings but to us readers, not Cate herself.) It was refreshing to see such a normal struggle in a world permeated with Magic.

This book is not without it’s curiosities, like why Dubai is mentioned as an ideal for these witches over and over again. I, for one, can’t wait to discover why and how the Cahill sisters will survive the politics, the Prophecy, and each other.

Check out this book trailer:

For more information about author Jessica Spotswood:

On Twitter: @jessica_shea
FacebookThe Cahill Witch Chronicles

Jessica Rules the Dark Side - Jessica, Book 2

Cross-posted at KidLitFrenzy  
Author: Beth Fantaskey  
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books  
Release Date: January 10, 2012  
Audience: Young Adult  
Source: ARC for review  
Fiction * Paranormal Romance

Description from GoodReads:

It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly-married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. 

Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

Jessica’s journey is about what happens after the happily ever after. She’s surrounded by men (befanged men) and politics, and in the way of most people starting a new life, needs to find this ‘new’ self. Is it all of the old self, just in better attire? or is it parts of the old self, with new thrown in? 

My thoughts on the book:

This was a highly anticipated sequel for me. I am completely in love with the journey I took in Beth Fantaskey’s first novel, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. Beth’s characters are three dimensional. I really enjoyed getting to know them as they got to know each other. I couldn’t imagine what would be next for Jessica and Lucius. Fantaskey answers this question in Jessica Rules the Dark Side. The tone and mood is unexpectedly a lot darker. I had a bit of trouble getting into the change but I was soon rewarded for my patience.

This new direction gives us readers a great chance to see Jessica come into her own as a woman and as a princess. She is dropped in the middle of this world full of old traditions, rituals, rites, and grudges. Jessica is forced to navigate these new waters on her own terms. Will she succeed? Don’t despair, dear readers. Beth gives Jessica some new friends along with her wise-cracking, no-nonsense, bit grumbly best friend, Mindy for help; keeping any Fantaskey fan avidly reading along as Jessica challenges this new world.

Here’s a heads up. Keep a lookout for Raniero, especially. I love characters and Raniero is definitely one to cherish. When you meet him, cliches will abound but persevere. He was one of the best book friends I meet last year. YES, I have book friends. Doesn't everyone? **Check out The Wedding Chapters for the scoop on Jessica and Lucius’ paranormal and unconventional Wedding, found here:

For more information about author Beth Fantaskey, check out her website here: http://www.bethfantaskey.com/
You can follow her on Twitter: @bethfantaskey

*Quote above used with permission

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Clockwork Prince - The Infernal Devices, Book 2

Cross-posted at KidLitFrenzy
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Copy borrowed from a friend

Description from GoodReads:
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

My thoughts on the book:

I am not a reader who focuses on writing style, in particular. I do believe that anyone who can breakdown my mental block when it comes to poetry must have some skill. That being said, I really enjoy the way that Cassandra Clare writes. She is able to create a fully dimensional world without being stuck on her descriptions in general. She has a good feel for the world of Steampunk that her characters inhabit. I never feel like I am being taking miles from the story just to hear about it’s surroundings or atmosphere; that is a very big deal breaker for me. We can also see, as readers, how much she loves books. Her descriptions of them and the libraries they are found in just makes me all the more comfortable in her world allowing my imagination to soar faster and higher.

I mostly read for character and plot. Characters are a strong suit for Cassandra. They come across as human which is the first and most important element to catching the interest of readers, especially this one. The Clockwork Prince gives us a more in-depth look at the relationship between Jem and Will. The elements that I found most endearing were how as parabatai they found new strength in their connection as well as hidden strengths as individuals.

The best surprise in this latest installment was the growth in Sophie. I was always intrigued by her origin in the story but in this book, we really get to see her character shine. Henry and Charlotte’s relationship adds an unexpected element of warmth to this book which I was delighted to experience and enjoy. We also get a bigger view of the Shadowhunters and their world, past and present, allowing for some interesting new characters, old enemies and friends (Magnus Bane is one of the best things in this book!), a chance to grow and add some mystery. The only character drawback I experienced was in Tessa. Even as she was going through the turmoil that the overall plot called for, I found myself wishing she could be a little less conflicted and indecisive. Her “will she, won’t she” dragged the action and my reading at times.

The plot is delivered as any second book in my opinion. Mortmain’s role is intriguing but not all that menacing. As a setup for a future confrontation, I do think it works. We are given a small bit of resolution and fuller insight to the mystery of Tessa and Will as individuals so I feel the job of continuing the action was done sufficiently. (Again, let me say that Magnus Bane is a great plot device and I can’t wait to see what he does next.)

Overall, I enjoyed the read and the few surprises it held. I am definitely awaiting the next installment with reserved anticipation.

How It's Done

I wanted a section of my website where I could show the work that inspires me to create; to show the moments in TV and Film that ignite my imagination to new heights.  Maybe, they can do the same for others.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Beautiful Creature Movie News

Well, we have some more casting news coming from Kami and Maggie.  This cast is really turning out to be stellar in every sense of the word.  I flipped when I saw Emma Thompson's name and I don't think my feet have hit the ground yet.  I have loved this series since meeting the authors at their launch for Beautiful Creatures.  I can't wait to see how this great book is visualized on screen.

Check out the Author's Announcement on their blog:


And here is the imbd page for the production.