21/02/2018

MY LIFE IN QUOTES - CHOOSE KIND

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind”  -  Wonder by R.J. Palacio
                                                                                                                                            
Driving through the narrow  streets of my town on my way to school,  caught in a long, slow serpentine of vehicles, I focus on the beautiful song coming  from my phone, it's one of my Youtube lists. Sufjan Stevens  Should Have Known Better  casts a hopeful glare even to the very grey sky above. 

Here we are. Two endless processions of teenagers flow on both sides of the street. They procede slowly but, anyhow, faster than my car.  Ok, patience, not yet there, but almost there, the school is not that far. A quick look at the car clock: 8:01 I’m supposed to be giving my first lesson of the day in 14 minutes. Will I make it in time?

Sufjan Stevens is now singing Futile Devices and I wish I could stay in the car listening to music all morning long. But that’s not me, no, not really me. I’m not lazy, I love my job, I can’t wait to see my students. What’s this sudden wish of having nothing to do or nobody to see?

I  really don’t understand what  happens to me sometimes. For example,   why  have I  been obsessively listening to the same songs these days?  I should stop and I blame them for  my recent exceptionally moody mood.  But they are just beautiful love songs and my mood must certainly have some other reason to be. I decide I  don’t actually want to know.

28/01/2018

AT THE MOVIES - MY BEST FAVOURITE OSCAR NOMINEES

My best favourites





I really hoped to see them in the prestigious lists after the recognition they got at the Golden Globes, but we can never be sure, can't we? I'm not so into awards, but I love good movies and  I'm happy when beautiful, brave, touching stories make it to the spotlight. Call me by your nameLady Bird and Dunkirk are the movies I've liked the most. The other nominees as best movies are “Darkest Hour”, “Get Out”, “Phantom Thread”, “The Post”, “The Shape of Water”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.
I saw Christopher Nolan's epic war movie when it came out in September. It was an extraordinary full immersion experience into war I will never forget. A two-hour-long adrenalin rush kept my heart beating fast all through the movie. But it was watching the other two films that I was totally smitten, literally blown away.


Call Me By Your Name: going back home, at 17



This film has just turned one year old and after winning several awards in different festivals, it has received 4 Academy Awards nominations: Best Movie, Best leading actor, Best Song, Best adaptation.
For the New Yorker it's an erotic triumph, for the New York Times it's an ecstasy for the senses, for the Rolling Stone there's magic in every shot, for Entertainment Weekly it casts an erotic and sensual spell, for The Guardian it's the number one movie of the year, for Esquire it's one of the most moving movies in the history of cinema, for Vanity Fair i's a film of vertiginous beauty, for the New York Observer it's a breathtaking masterpiece. What more could I add?

02/12/2017

ROBIN DANIELS, FROM THE HARD TASK OF BEING A TEENAGER TO THE HARD TASK OF WRITING GOOD YA FICTION

I have an admission. This is the first time someone has asked me to write a guest post for a blog. Honestly, I have no idea if this is how it works, but this is how I’m writing it, LOL. Our host suggested I tell you about what writing for today’s young adult readers means to me. But, to do that, I need to tell you a few things about myself first.

 I was raised in a religious home and still hold those values. It’s tough to be a teenager with a moral compass. It’s not considered very cool. I was able to stand up for what I believed in without too much grief because I was cute and a little popular. Even then, my friends teased me in good nature when I used goofy replacements for swear words. Some thought it was flat out weird that I didn’t drink or watch rated R movies. Many thought I was nuts for saving sex until marriage.
But, for the most part, people respected my values and choices. Often, kids chose less vulgar language in my presence or apologized when the f-word slipped out. If I went to a party and was offered a drink by someone who didn’t know me, others would get offended on my behalf. I had a boyfriend for two years who respected me so much, that he went off to college a virgin (though it was definitely not his

10/11/2017

PLUNDER WITH INTENT BLOG TOUR: FIVE QUESTIONS FOR AUTHOR JOANNA D’ESTE CLARK


Plunder with Intent is a beautiful story of love, justice and tragedy about the family of a 19th Century English aristocrat who steals a line of beautiful marble statues (the Parthenon or Elgin marbles) from their rightful home in Greece. The novel follows the story of the statues from their creation in 5th Century BC to present day; friendships, love affairs and destines are shaped by people’s interaction to the statues. 

     
     After reading this short introduction I was really curious about Plunder with Intent and sent a few questions to author J.E. D’Este Clark to discover more. Here are her answers.

      When and how did you fall in love with the Classical world and all-things-Greek?

My love affair with the Classical world began when I was a child. Always asking ‘why’ from the age of eight, lead me to read the classics and study the great Greek philosophers.  If you want to understand yourself there is no better place to start than with Plato, Aristotle, and of course my favourite, Socrates, who features throughout Plunder with Intent. Homer’s Odyssey was my next big love, and I read it three times while researching my novel.  Reading it as a young person brought the ancient wisdom even closer and has stayed with me ever since. I fell in love with classical architecture while studying history of art and design at university.  Those massive Doric columns enchanted me. There was, of course, a more romantic reason for my passion for the Classical world, but perhaps I’ll keep him a secret… 

28/09/2017

ALICE CHANDLER, MADELON AND CAMERON AND THE DOMINIONS OF TIME

I’ve spent a lifetime with stories—listening to my father’s wonderful stories when I was a child, teaching about stories as an English professor, and finally writing stories for my grandchildren and loving to watch their faces as I read the stories aloud to them.

My first published book for middle schoolers is Madelon and Cameron and the Dominions of Time. It starts out almost as a fairy tale, with a magic ring that can conquer time and space and a boy uncertain of his parentage. As the story unfolds, the two worlds of time become evident. One is the real world of science and rationality—the rocket ships on their launching pads at Cape Canaveral, a New York City brownstone house, the dinosaur hall in the Museum of Natural History. The other world is the magic world. It shades from real places like Stonehenge and a Neolithic Irish burial site to the spectacular imagery of the Bridge of Swords and the brooding terror of the Castle of Bron.

Twelve-year-old Madelon and Cameron are the main characters in my story—or as they soon call themselves Mad and Cam. “Let’s just be Mad and Cam against the world,” Mad says--and rightly so, as they do battle against the evil wizard Daimastron and his gnome-like Gorbuc warriors. Mad is the one who does the right thing impetuously, not always thinking of the consequences she may face. Cam often holds back, but does the right thing in the end.

16/09/2017

REGINA JEFFERS, COULD AN AMERICAN INHERIT AN ENGLISH TITLE? - NEW RELEASE, GUEST POST, EXCERPT

In both of my first two books from the Twins’ trilogy, the issue of whether an American could inherit a title/peerage comes into play as part of the plot. In Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep, Angelica Lovelace’s parents had run off to America, specifically the United States, to live because they married against the wishes of their families and were disowned. As the third son, Horace Lovelace never thought to inherit, but fate (especially in the hands of a writer) has a way to make his inheritance a reality, while staying within the law of the land at that time. For Lovelace, in determining whether he could inherit a peerage in England after living in the United States for more than twenty years, we must first consider that he and his wife were both born in England. However, the question would arrive as to whether they became American citizens by denouncing their English roots or perhaps by simply living in the States and “presenting” themselves in business and socially as an “American.” Moreover, if Lovelace can inherit, what happens to his son’s rights to the earldom when the boy comes of age? What laws would affect the Lovelace’s situation when he returns to England?

08/09/2017

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: READ AN EXCERPT FROM PERFECTLY YOU & WIN $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD



Perfectly You by Robin Daniels  

Ivy Nixon is the student body Vice President at Franklin High School. Each year, the school holds a date auction to raise funds for the senior class graduation party, and this year, Ivy’s in charge. Planning the event is a huge task and Ivy is determined to prove she can get the job done right. Unfortunately, she’s still one participant short and her deadline is looming. Andy Walker, her cute but socially reclusive art class table mate, is her last resort. He may not be popular, but he’s funny, talented, and full of surprises. With a makeover and some major social marketing, Ivy is sure he could fetch a decent price at the auction. Andy reluctantly agrees to help, but the more time Ivy spends with him, the more her feelings shift from professional to romantic in nature. To top it off, she’s done her marketing so well, that other girls are starting to notice Andy too. Come auction time, will Ivy be able to let him go to the highest bidder? Or will she find a way to keep him for herself… Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels set at the same high school. It contains minor language, innuendo, and crude humor, some steamy kissing, a party scene where underage drinking is taking place, and a brief but tasteful conversation about sex. The author has attempted to write characters who make good choices in questionable situations, in effort to keep the content appropriate for teens. This book contains no sex, written or implied, and no explicit language. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

01/09/2017

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE LOST KNIGHT BY CANDY ATKINS



The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins 

How am I supposed to save the world when I'm not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I'm on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I'm no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that's supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion of Earth. But I'm not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.

30/08/2017

RICHARD ARMITAGE IN BRAIN ON FIRE AND PILGRIMAGE


I needn't say much about Richard Armitage's devoted attention to details in crafting a new character. If you are reading this post,  you most likely are one of his well-wishers - as he prefers to call his fans - so you know much more than that about him.

That care and that attention have helped him deliver outstanding performances on many an occasion, however little or big his role was, no matter if in a low-budget independent project or in a high-profile one.

Impossible not to notice all that also in two recent low-budget movies he stars in after - and nothwithstanding - his worldwide fame as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit movies:  Brain on Fire (2016) and Pilgrimage (2017)

28/08/2017

WHEN WILLS CLASH AND HEARTS COLLIDE, WHO WILL REIGN VICTORIOUS? THE PURSUIT OF LADY HARRIETT BY RACHAEL ANDERSON


The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson                                                      

When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious?                                        

Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.  

                           

24/08/2017

PERFECTLY YOU BY ROBIN DANIELS - BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY


   

Perfectly You by Robin Daniels

Ivy Nixon is the student body Vice President at Franklin High School. Each year, the school holds a date auction to raise funds for the senior class graduation party, and this year, Ivy’s in charge. Planning the event is a huge task and Ivy is determined to prove she can get the job done right. Unfortunately, she’s still one participant short and her deadline is looming. Andy Walker, her cute but socially reclusive art class table mate, is her last resort. He may not be popular, but he’s funny, talented, and full of surprises. With a makeover and some major social marketing, Ivy is sure he could fetch a decent price at the auction. Andy reluctantly agrees to help, but the more time Ivy spends with him, the more her feelings shift from professional to romantic in nature. To top it off, she’s done her marketing so well, that other girls are starting to notice Andy too. Come auction time, will Ivy be able to let him go to the highest bidder? Or will she find a way to keep him for herself… 

This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels set at the same high school. It contains minor language, innuendo, and crude humor, some steamy kissing, a party scene where underage drinking is taking place, and a brief but tasteful conversation about sex. 
The author has attempted to write characters who make good choices in questionable situations, in effort to keep the content appropriate for teens. This book contains no sex, written or implied, and no 
explicit language. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

11/08/2017

BOOK UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: DIANE SCOTT-LEWIS, HOSTAGE TO THE REVOLUTION

Diane Scott Lewis's new book,  Hostage to the Revolution, is the perfect reading for historical fiction lovers fond of the Poldark saga, of tales set in the English Georgian Era or the French Revolution,  or for those already appreciating  her writing. 
The story of young Frenchwoman, Bettina Jonquiere, came to  Diane,  while travelling through Cornwall a few years back. Once back in the States, she thoroughly researched the eighteenth century and gave life to Escape the Revolution, set mostly in Cornwall, which was her first novel, and  now to a  sequel, Hostage to the Revolution, set in New Orleans and France.  

Hostage to the Revolution: book blurb

Sequel to Escape the Revolution. In 1796, ruined countess Bettina Jonquiere leaves England after the reported drowning of her lover, Everett.  In New Orleans she struggles to establish a new life for her children. Soon a ruthless Frenchman demands the money stolen by her father at the start of the French Revolution. Bettina is forced on a dangerous mission to France to recover the funds. She unravels dark family secrets, but will she find the man she lost as well? 

Read an excerpt

The woman lowered her Carnival mask to reveal the perfect, glacial features of Lucrece Bardou, Geralde’s former fiancée.
Lucrece raised her elegant brows. “Very well, we’ll talk here. Are you seeing my Geralde? You have been noticed with him these past months.” She swatted her fan. “And you were dancing with him out front, like two peasants.”

10/08/2017

PERIOD DRAMA NEWS: OLD FRIENDS AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES COMING SOON



1. GENTLEMAN JACK: SURANNE JONES + SALLY WAINWRIGHT + VICTORIAN ENGLAND

Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Save Me, Scott & Bailey)  and  Sally Wainwright (To Walk Invisible, Last Tango In Halifax, Happy Valley) are due on set together again to shoot Gentleman Jack, a coproduction BBC/HBO. Of course, Suranne Jones will lead the cast as the protagonist while Sally Wainwright will sign the screenplay and will direct the 8-part series.
If you love good TV drama you should at least be as excited as me. But if, like me,  you are also a period drama lover, you should be on seventh heaven since this new series is set in 1832.

It’s the story of Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), a remarkable landowner who - after years of exotic travel and social climbing - returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire, determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall.

09/08/2017

BOOKS & MORE BOOKS - SUMMERTIME READS


Summer means relax and travelling, binge watching and remorseless staying up late,  but it also means spare time for more good books. Have you read anything interesting? I have! Here are some of the best among my holidays reads. Very different genres, international authors - but especially British - all of them  are worth reading and will help you feel good or better.  

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen


Book BlurbDr Eitan Green is a good man. He saves lives. Then, speeding along a deserted moonlit road in his SUV after an exhausting hospital shift, he hits someone. Seeing that the man, an African migrant, is beyond help, he flees the scene. It is a decision that changes everything.

Because the dead man's wife knows what happened. And when she knocks at Eitan's door the next day, tall and beautiful, holding his wallet, he discovers that her price is not money. It is something else entirely, something that will shatter Eitan's safe existence and take him into a world of secrets and lies he could never have anticipated.
Everything gets more complicated and tense when Dr Green's beloved wife, Liat, smart police officer and detective, starts investigating on the case. 
This new brilliant novel is crafted as a suspenseful thriller, one you suffer putting down and which resonates with you for a while after you finish reading. It is also a touching study of the human mind coping with guilt, shame, desire and resilience. One of the most intriguing books I've read this year.