Sunday, July 31, 2011
FAIRER THAN MORNING by Rosslyn Elliott threw me for a loop and took me by surprise. I felt as though I was taken back to the early 1800’s with Ms. Elliot’s amazing description and play on words. With three possible hero’s, I was kept guessing who would end up with the heroine, a unique twist from the stories I’m accustom to reading.
Ann Miller is pursued by Elie Bowen, a man any woman would be proud to marry. But there are lingering concerns, and when Ann travels with her father to Pittsburgh on business, she encounters two other men. Allan Burbridge, obviously smitten with her, but it’s Will Hanby that captures her curiosity.
Will, a saddle-maker’s apprentice, has suffered from loss of his family and abuse from his master. Upon his meeting Ann, the compassion he sees in her ignites in him hope that he long thought was dead. When Will is no longer able to endure the abuse of his master, he flees in hopes of finding Ann and her father.
The compassion of a few good Christians as well as Will’s growing faith was one to be admired. Ms. Elliott did a wonderful job conveying the hands and feet of Jesus in a natural and convincing way. I was truly humbled to read of their acts of Christianity as well as Will’s determination and faith despite his horrific circumstances.
As is often the case with me, I failed to read the back cover of FAIRER THAN MORNING, for if I had I would have realized the shocking information revealed in the final pages. I won’t give it away in case you’re like me, and love a good surprise.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
If I could only say one thing about ALLIE PLEITER'S writing, it would be her amazing ability to write in different styles employing a unique voice for each genre. The KENTUCKY CONNERS, a contemporary series, reads with a distinctive voice, while MASKED BY MOONLIGHT and MISSION OF HOPE, both historical, read in yet another. To my surprise, YUKON WEDDING had yet a different voice. What they all have in common is Allie's flair for unique and witty lines.
YUKON WEDDING immediately drew me in with a powerful beginning and dynamic characters. Lana Bistrow, recent widow and mother, is struggling on her own to survive in Treasure Creek, Alaska. When Mack Tanner, her deceased husband's friend, steps in and offers her a marriage of convenience, she refuses.
Mack Tanner sees marriage to Lana as his duty to protect his former business partner and friends, family. Lana doesn't take kindly to his offer of marriage and the stubborn woman makes him ask several times before she finally gives in.
What may have started out as a marriage of convenience, slowly blossoms into love as Lana and Mack endure the trials and tribulations of the Alaskan town he founded, Treasure Creek.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
It has been some time since I last read one of LENORA WORTH'S books, but only because she changed genres. She was one of the very first inspirational fiction authors I read, and I fell in love with her writing. I was excited to discover HOMETOWN SWEETHEART.
As I began to read this wonderful story, I wasn't disappointed, being instantly swept away. The writing was just as amazing as I'd remembered, with three-dimensional characters you'll fall in love with. The storyline was unique and rich.
Shanna White is pretty and sweet, always sporting a sunny smile and a bubbly attitude. Simon Adams is not happy when she disrupts his reclusive live by moving in to the rental cabin next door with seven unruly kids on a church retreat.
As Shanna breaks through Mack's stone heart, he opens up Shanna's heart to the hurt and pain she'd been hiding from, revealing the warm, kind and sensitive man he once use to be. The unlikely match discovers their lives would be incomplete without the other.
Friday, July 8, 2011
HOMETOWN PRINCESS by Lenora Worth is a sweet, even-paced romance. I wasn't aware when I began to read HOMETOWN SWEETHEART that it was the second book in the Hometown series. I loved the first book in the series, HOMETOWN SWEETHEART, and was excited to read about Simon in HOMETOWN PRINCESS.
Cari Duncan moves back to her hometown after her father passes away and leaves her the old Victorian house in Knotwood Mountain, Georgia, where she grew up in. Her stepmother is not happy, in spite that the house is the only thing Cari's father left her.
All's Cari wants is to make a new start, but her stepmother will stop at nothing to drive her away. Rich Adams, the handsome businessman from next door, offers to help Cari. Will she open her heart to faith, family and her own Prince Charming?
If there are more in this series, I'll be sure to pick it up.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I'm not a huge fan Owen Wilson, but I am a fan of Reese Witherspoon, and HOW DO YOU KNOW sounded like a movie I'd like. The storyline is unique and plays out wonderfully with just the right amount of comedy and romance to make it believable. HOW DO YOU KNOW is well acted with charming characters that will pull you into their story right from the beginning, all the way through to the end.
Lisa, played by Reese Witherspoon, is cut from a national softball team. Shortly after this happens, she meets major-league pitcher Matty, played by Owen Wilson. With his goofy antics, he wins over her heart and in a snap decision, moves in.
Then enters George, played by Paul Rudd. George has been accused of tax fraud while working for his father's company, played by Jack Nicholson. What starts out as a friendship between Lisa and George slowly turns to love. Matty however is clueless, which adds to the humorous love triangle.
The writers did an amazing job in pulling off George's unique situation with a surprising and believable ending. A movie you won't want to miss.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
The word “great” would not be the word I’d use to describe the movie ME AND ORSON WELLS, but I would say it was a good movie. The acting was wonderful, as well as the production. However what I found most fascinating about ME AND ORSON WELLS is what I learned afterwards about the man.
Although I recognized the name, I didn’t realize who Orson Wells was until I looked him up on the Internet and found a picture of him at an older age. Christian McKay plays Orson with an amazing likeness in physical features as well as doing a spectacular job portraying him.
In looking into his history I discovered Orson Wells was originally from Kenosha Wisconsin and at a young age, moved to Chicago Illinois with his mother. Not far from where I live. His mother died when Orson was just eight years old, and he was thirteen when his father passed away.
Zac Efron does a wonderful job playing Richard Samuels, a young man who finds himself working alongside Orson Wells in a production of JULIUS CAESAR. He’s warned by Sonja Jones, played by Claire Danes, that no one disagrees with the great Orson Wells. Despite the warning, he does just that and at the end of the production, is fired by Orson.
ME AND ORSON WELLS was even paced, well acted, and an interesting storyline. Though I wouldn’t say it was action packed, exciting, or filled with drama, yet still a movie worth watching.
Friday, July 1, 2011
SAVE THE CAT, THE LAST BOOK ON SCREENWRITING THAT YOU'LL EVER NEED may have just saved my writing. As an aspiring author, I've struggled over the years as I've grown and learned how to write fiction. I've read a handful of books on the craft of writing but none have compared to SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder.
If you are a fiction writer, don't let the fact that SAVE THE CAT is about screenwriting cause you to look the other way. It has all the elements needed to write a novel. And not just any novel. One that has everything needed for a great story. It even touches on how to promote and sell your work.
In other books I've read on the craft, they were not able to cover all the basics in such precise, easy to understand and visually pleasing ways as SAVE THE CAT.
A few things I've learned from SAVE THE CAT?
1) You must be able to answer the question, "It's about a guy who..."
2) You need a great logline.
3) A primal goal is a must.
4) Spice up the back-story so it's not boring.
5) An ARC in every character a must...except the bad guy.
6) Give every character a limp or an eye patch.
And so much more, including:
The dos and don'ts to creating a great story.
A checklist for the lead characters, and
How to build the perfect novel.
To date, SAVE THE CAT is the best writing book I've read, one that will have a huge impact on my writing.