Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unwrapping: Wacky Wednesday - Miss Jane's Eye Candy

I've been feeling much the way Jane felt when she fell ill at Netherfield Hall and have been fighting some kind of bug since Friday which gives a whole new meaning to Black Friday for me. But I took some meds this morning that actually have my head unstuffed enough to think so I'm going to get this post done before I fall into another fog.  : )

The other day I enjoyed a delightful discussion on another blog about who was the better man, Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth ... personally, I think they are both lovely but have a special affinity for Mr. Knightley.  My likes and dislikes of an Austen man come from the books but I do have to admit that with the onslaught of productions made, my likes and dislikes have been greatly reinforced by the male who plays the part in the various visual versions.

Take Mr. Darcy ... we all nearly agree completely that Colin Firth is THE Mr. Darcy that we now imagine when we read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE but there have been others who haven't been too hard on the eyes or the heart.
But when Matthew MacFadyen stutters his words and declares, "you have bewitched me body and soul." I melt completely away!!!

Then there's Elliot Cowan from LOST IN AUSTEN who isn't anything to toss in the trash although I suspect he might have made a better Heathcliff but then that's a different genre.

As for Captain Wentworth, I personally feel the eye candy is not quite as sweet but I certainly wouldn't turn any down.  I've always felt that the Captain deserved a better look when it came to casting the role after all, the man is charming, dashing and easily caught the eye of many a female.   Rupert Penry-Jones, I think has caught the eye of the viewers --

But I've always felt that CiarĂ¡n Hinds might have had more the look of a man who had ridden the seas and seen battle.
If ever someone decides to make another production of PERSUASION, and I hope they will, I hope they consider someone like Philip Winchester - now there's an American, who can do British and would make a very good Captain Wentworth - in my opinion, of course.

And then there's my favorite Mr. Knightley -
It goes without saying that Jeremy Northam is probably my ideal sweet George but other's have done the job well, too.


Mark Strong played the role quite well and brought out the country gentleman in Mr. Knightley to Kate Beckinsale's so-so Emma.

My least favorite George Knightley was Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal but he would do in a pinch so I'm not going to throw him out.  : )

Oh, my word but there are so many more delicious Austen men to choose from but since I'm beginning to get a bit foggy again, I think I'll save the others for another day. If you have any Austen men that you are particularily fond of, I'd love to know about it.

If remakes were made of all of Miss Jane's works, who would you like to see play your favorite heroes?

Till next time - Happy Reading Everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unwrapping: New Release Tuesday!

Christmas is coming and Santa is checking his lists, are you? Get a load of some of December's great new releases and load up your list ... winter is nearly upon us so you'll be wanting something to warm you!

Already available as of Nov 27

Available TODAY!!


Coming Dec 6        Coming Dec 27

Happy Reading Everyone!! 


Monday, November 28, 2011

Unwrapping: How Do You Solve A Problem Like ... A Bad Read?

Remember the song "Maria" from the SOUND OF MUSIC? For some reason, ever since I started reading my current read, that song has been running through my head - specifically the line, How do you solve a problem like Maria?

I didn't feel well all weekend and am still not feeling very chipper, so instead of writing in the evening, I decided to start reading a new book by an author I had never read before. Because I haven't finished the book, I'm not going to condemn it quite yet - it might get better- at least I hope it will. But it makes me wonder ...

I love to read and there is nothing better than to get caught up in a story as soon as you begin reading Chapter 1, but what do you do when that first chapter isn't all that? Worse, it still hasn't captured you after the third chapter? 

How DO you solve the problem of a bad read?

I suppose I could just stop reading but that's where I have trouble. I don't like to give up on a book or anything.  I've sat through many a really bad movie because I kept telling myself to hang on, it might get better.  There have only been a handful that I shut off after the first 15 minutes because I just couldn't bear one more second.  A good example is THE THREE AMIGOS ... geez, what a horrible movie!

I suppose I could skip through to a later chapter to see if it's any better but then I would worry about missing out on an important piece of information needed for the story to make sense. Speaking of information - just how much information is needed to push the story along? Do we really need an elaborate description of a woman's full attire to produce an image in our mind?

I should mention that this particular book that I am reading is set in England a couple of decades before we pesky Colonials decided to separate ourselves from English rule. I appreciate a little history with my romance but not to the point of feeling like I'm going to be tested on it after I reach the HEA.

So with that in mind, I suppose I could skim the areas of historical reference - btw, this book actually has a bibliography in the back - or should I worry that some of that reference is pertinent to the story and so I need to read it? 

How do you solve a problem like a bad read?

In my case, I guess I will continue to plug along but I will tell you this - if it isn't any better by the middle, I'm turning it off or rather closing it up.

So, I'm curious ... what do you do when you come across a bad read?

I'm hoping your current read is a good one.  Happy Reading Everyone. 


Friday, November 25, 2011

Unwrapping: Literary Remakes

I just caught the tail end of an old episode of MOONLIGHTING, remember that funny show that launched Bruce Willis when he still had hair. This particular episode was called, "Atomic Shakespeare" based on William Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and I remembered it being funny when it first aired but I have to admit, I think I laughed harder this time because I'd forgotten how crazy that show could be. 

The innuendos and slapstick, not to mention the antics of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, were timely and delightful ... it's by far, my favorite episode. 

Seeing that episode got me to thinking about Literary Remakes. I know there are several stories being pulled from fairy tales right now but how about the ones that find their base in acclaimed literature such as those of William Shakespeare or others.

Immediately, THE DEVIL WHO TAMED HER by Johanna Lindsey came to mind. This delightful Regency Romance starring Ophelia Reid as 'the Shrew' and Rafe Locke as the brave man who tamed her proved to be as equally entertaining as either ATOMIC SHAKESPEARE or THE TAMING OF THE SHREW but with a lot more romance and no singing, unfortunately.

The back cover reveals the plot so similar to THE TAMING OF THE SHREW:
The heir to a dukedom, Raphael Locke is the most sought-after young lord in England. When Duncan MacTavish, the man Ophelia was set to marry and changed her mind, claims that Ophelia will never be anything but spiteful, Rafe bets his friend otherwise. Whisking her to his country estate, Rafe shows his furious, sharp-tongued "guest" the error of her ways and discovers the surprising reasons for her bad behavior. When Rafe champions the new and improved Ophelia's re-entry to London society, marriage proposals pour in. But has Rafe gone and fallen in love with Ophelia himself?

See for yourself what the poor man  is up against in THE DEVIL WHO TAMED HER by Johanna Lindsey.  The battle between Ophelia and Rafe begins at breakfast their first morning together:

"If you've finished your breakfast," [Ophelia] finally remarked, "I'd like an answer to my original question."

[Rafe] was only half-finished eating, but she'd asked so many questions that he hadn't exactly answered that he replied anyway, "Which was?"

"Why are you doing this to me?"

"Ah, that again. For a number of reasons."

"Just give me one."

"You are universally disliked, except by a seemingly endless stream of men who haven't discovered yet that you're a shrew."

"I'm not a shrew.  But that has nothing to do with you, so give me another reason."

"Very well, I find it quite odd that anyone as beautiful as you are could be so obviously unhappy. I've taken it upon myself to correct that, my good deed the year, you could say. And I must disagree with your response to my first reason. I lean toward the underdog, always have, and help them when I can. In  your case, I can."

"It's well known that you champion the underdog," she allowed. "Even I've heard it mentioned. But I am not an underdog! And for you to insinuate that I am ---"

"Of course you are, m'dear," he interrupted calmly. "Name me one person who likes you, aside from your parents and that stream of idiots we've already mentioned."

"My maid," she retorted looking rather triumphant to have come up with that answer.

He rolled his eyes. "Maids don't count."

"Go to hell," she said, and surprised him by leaving the table.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to walk home," she informed without looking back.

He started to laugh. That halted her before she reached the door.

"I'm serious," she swung around to tell him, in case he doubted it. "I'll find someone who can help me get back to London."  ---

Well, Rafe has his hands full with a stubborn woman like Ophelia much as Petruchio had with Kate but just how will Rafe tame Ophelia? With love as did Petruchio? Actually, did Petruchio really tame Kate or did she just let him believe he did?

Let's take a look at this scene from THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by William Shakespeare:

PETRUCHIO:  Come on, i' God's name; once more toward our father's. Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!
KATHARINA:  The moon! the sun: it is not moonlight now.
PETRUCHIO:  I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
KATHARINA:  I know it is the sun that shines so bright.
PETRUCHIO:  Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself, It shall be moon, or star, or what I list, Or ere I journey to your father's house. Go on, and fetch our horses back again. Evermore cross'd and cross'd; nothing but cross'd!
HORTENSIO:  Say as he says, or we shall never go.
KATHARINA:  Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or sun, or what you please: An if you please to call it a rush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
PETRUCHIO:  I say it is the moon.
KATHARINA:  I know it is the moon.
PETRUCHIO:  Nay, then you lie: it is the blessed sun.
KATHARINA: Then, God be bless'd, it is the blessed sun: But sun it is not, when you say it is not; And the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it named, even that it is;
And so it shall be so for Katharina.

Hmm ... always seemed to me that Kate just told Petruchio what he wanted to hear. What do you think? Can a man really tame a woman who doesn't want to be tamed?  Or is it the other way around and it's the woman who is actually taming the man?

Are there other Romances that remind you of literary works?

Love to know what you think - in the meantime - Happy Reading Everyone!