Tag Archive | review

Event: Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference

Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference
March 17, 2012

The Liberty States Fiction Writers (LSFW) held their annual Create Something Magical Conference this past Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day) in New Jersey. I had heard about it at the beginning of February at Lady Jane’s Salon, but I was thinking of it as a “next year” kind of thing. I didn’t think I was ready to go to a writers conference, it was a Saturday, and it was in New Jersey. Basically, I was full of excuses for not going.

Then I came up with a reason for why it would be a good idea to go, and it was as simple as that. I want to be a writer. If you want something, hang out with the people who have it. Surround yourself with those who are successful at what you want to be successful at, and learn from them. So I read up on the workshops, contacted the LSFW vice president, and paid immediately.

Read More…

Theater Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

How to Succeed Broadway Daniel RadcliffeAt the end of October I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe and playing at the Al Hirschfeld theater. I love musical theater, Harry Potter, and Al Hirschfeld’s art, so this was a real treat, and I’m very grateful to the two friends who brought me along with them.

Daniel Radcliffe (who is called D-Rad in my head) does an excellent job playing the eager, enthusiastic, ambitious young wannabe-businessman J. Pierrepont Finch. His smaller stature works for him here. He’s shorter than everyone else, but it fits with the shiny-eyed image of the “new kid.” He literally looks up to John Larroquette. (The voiceover narration of the book for which the musical is named is provided by swoon-worthy Anderson Cooper.) Finch’s ambition means he’s a rather distracted love interest, and Radcliffe does that well, too.

How to Succeed Daniel Radcliffe Broadway signI saw Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway in Equus during the winter of 2008, so I already knew that he’s a very athletic and energetic stage performer. In How to Succeed, he throws himself (figuratively and physically) into all of the dance numbers, and because he’s half the size of all the other men on stage it seems like he’s working twice as hard. The Harry Potter movies and Equus showed me how physical he is, but I still wondered: Can Daniel Radcliffe dance? The answer is, yes, yes he can. His singing is good; he can definitely carry a tune and he hits all the right notes, but he does lack the strength of more trained singers. However, his charm, spot-on 1960s-American-stage accent, and enthusiasm more than make up for it. When he’s on stage, you forget he’s Harry Potter. Hell, you forget he’s BRITISH.

Read More…

Book Review: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff cover(Happy Halloween! This book will be available in just a couple of weeks and I HIGHLY recommend it!)

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: November 15th 2011 by Razorbill

5/5 stars – loved it!

Sometimes a book is written so enchantingly that it draws you in and fully immerses you in the story from the very first page. The act of reading a book like this becomes an experience in itself. I feel this way about Chris WoodingJeff VanderMeer, and Francesca Lia Block. There’s some kind of magical quality to the prose, and it doesn’t matter if what’s going on makes perfect sense, or is explained in perfect details. The details that exist paint a perfect enough picture. It’s enough to believe in the magic of the story, of the world being set up, and like a fairy tale, you just go with it and let it sweep you away.

Reading The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff was like that. The description is lovely and visual, evoking imagery that is by turns bright and dark, sharp and dull, creepy and beautiful. The novel is mostly told through the eyes of Daphne, the half-demon and half-fallen angel daughter of Lilith and Lucifer. She lives in Pandemonium, a city in Hell marked by metal, heat and permanence. Daphne is bored, lonely, and, most of all, terrified that she will turn out like her succubus sisters who prey on the lost young men of Earth. Sitting in her apartment, she watches old movies and surrounds herself with colorful artifacts leftover from others’ past lives, wishing for something more.

Read More…

Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth cover(Halloween is coming up, so I’ll be posting reviews of some good spooky reads I recommend. Enjoy!)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

5/5 stars – loved it!

Mary lives in a village surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Within the village, the Sisterhood takes care of everything and the Guardians maintain the fence that encloses them. No one has ever been outside the village because the forest is full of the Unconsecrated, and the Unconsecrated are always hungry for living human flesh.

Raised on fairy tales of the outside world, Mary has a hard time keeping the faith the Sisterhood preaches. She knows there is something beyond the forest, that there is the ocean. After all, she’s seen a photograph of her many times great-grandmother on the beach, before the Return. Before the Unconsecrated rose.

When tragedy strikes her family, Mary’s life undergoes many changes. It tears her up inside, living a life that was given to her, not the one she has chosen. She begins to learn that the Sisterhood is keeping secrets, and curiosity consumes her, even though it might also destroy her. She is also consumed with desire for the one guy who is completely off-limits to her.

And then the fence is breached. And Mary, who has struggled with her beliefs, must allow her faith to lead her along the only path left.

Read More…

Book Review: The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray cover(Halloween is coming up, so I’ll be posting reviews of some good spooky reads I recommend. Enjoy!)

The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Point (first published June 15th 2001)

4/5 stars

I really enjoy reading Chris Wooding’s novels. (I also recommend Poison.) There’s something very dark and weird to the worlds he creates, and it makes the stories edgy and exciting. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray is no exception.

Set in an alternate universe of Victorian London, there are more than just famous serial killers (in this case, it’s Stitch-face) to worry about. Ever since the city was bombed, wych-kin have been appearing in the Old Quarter. They kill, possess, steal babies, and just generally do bad stuff. They’re the things of nightmares, of fairy tales, the things that go bump in the night. And they just keep coming.

Read More…

Book Review: Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan

Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan cover

(This review is by guest blogger Erin!)

Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan
ebook
Published July 26, 2001 by Loose Id

4.5/5 stars

I like a lot of angst in my romance. Not in a gratuitous way—not angst for angst’s sake—but I want a really juicy conflict. I want to feel all the turmoil going on between the characters. I want the conflict to be substantial, too, not just “Oh, does he like me?” but “he likes me and I like him but there are fifteen reasons this can’t possibly work.”

Dance with Me certainly delivers on that level. It’s an opposites-attract story between two people with a lot of baggage. Ed is a former semipro football player whose career was derailed by a neck injury. He has a desk job he doesn’t like and suffers from chronic pain related to the injury. Laurie is a former professional dancer who gave up his career after a humiliating incident at a competition (more on that later). They meet because they both volunteer as teachers at a local community center. They argue, mostly over the music Laurie keeps pumping over the sound system, and things come to a head when Ed begs Laurie to turn off the thumping beats, offering to do anything, and Laurie stops the music (ha) on the condition that Ed be his assistant in a ballroom dance class he teaches. Ed agrees.
Read More…

Book Review: Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell

Kindred Hearts cover

(This review is by guest blogger Erin!)

Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell
ebook/trade paper, 350 pages
Published May 2nd, 2011 by Dreamspinner Press

4/5 stars

(Note: there are some mild spoilers in this review.)

The set up is basically every Regency romance you’ve ever read: the hero is a rake with daddy issues who beds lots of women and reacts to any dare as if he were Marty McFly being called a chicken. His father, a duke, informs him early in the novel that he is required to produce an heir and thus will be marrying an on-the-shelf spinster with a well-respected father, and he’s to get right on that heir producing if he doesn’t want to get cut off. Luckily, said spinster turns out to be kind of a spitfire, albeit a plain-looking one, and when the hero meets her, he basically thinks, Well, okay, I don’t want to get married, but if I have to, she’s all right. Maybe this is not a sweeping declaration of love, but we’re not quite a third of the way into the book.

The story picks up again two years later, at which time our plucky former spinster has produced the required heir and has a spare on the way. While fireworks don’t exactly go off when our hero and heroine are in a room together, they have forged an easy friendship and the hero very clearly adores his young son. Things proceed, perhaps a little on the boring side, until the heroine’s brother comes back from the war. And then things get interesting.

Read More…