Saturday, June 29, 2013

Trip Back to Regency England with the Cynsters (& More)

I recently breezed through the latest Cynster novels - 'And Then She Fell' and 'The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh' by Stephanie Laurens!! 

I've loved the Cynsters' since Devil first walked on to the page and through the years this series has held fast as one of my very favourite.... One I can read and re-read and read again, each time finding something else, something more to love, to think about and to anticipate. 

One thing I truly love about Stephanie Laurens Regency-era is that almost all her novels exist in the framework of one "world". The Bastion Club lays some groundwork for the Cynsters novels, you get a side trip into the Black Cobra books, then more Cynsters, connections and friends, leading to the Adair Casebook stories... You don't have to learn a whole new landscape with each story, though each story is fulfilling on its own.  

And because of the intermingling of at least some characters in all the books, you find yourself able to understand and appreciate their contribution - no matter how small, to the whole. You understand without explanation why the hero, or heroine, decides to approach a specific character for something.  Because you've visited this world, this structure and you know, at least to a certain degree, the characters involved, you can quickly become entrenched in whichever story you hold in your hands.  Like with life the mysteries of some character who appears repeatedly along the way becomes clear with repeated interactions. 

You learn the history of Royce, Duke of Wolverstone's life. Through his story you meet Devil Cynster, Duke of St. Ives and quickly discover his Devil-may-care attitude covers a much deeper character than you would assume. You see through the friends and families interactions, the care they give one another, and how the react to crisis, to the bonds that hold them together and the lengths they are willing to go for one another.  You find the power of the net they cast when they're called upon to support their countrymen and trust that they give to those they care for and about. 

Right from the time we met Tristan and Lenora, to this most recent dip back in that world with Mary and Ryder - we become intimately aware of vast portions of the world they live in. The places they call home. And the reasons why, for all of them, that love is the cornerstone of their lives... Whether they looked for it or not. 

Visit Stephanie Laurens website (below) for more about all of her novels, series and even some about how they relate to one another.  She truly is one of the best Regency authors that I've read.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beautiful Things

So often in our lives events or people transpire to disappoint us.  Life happens with all of its chaotic distractions, amazements, let-downs, tragedies, and triumphs.  Too many people get beaten down by the realities of their lives... Because the bottom line is this: life and living is hard.  

Most of us are able to recognize this fact and balance it by finding the simple joys in our day-to-day lives.  No matter how hard life is, or how bad things seem, the simple joys are there; it’s just a matter of teaching or training yourself to see them and give them the recognition that they deserve.  It doesn’t matter if the little things that make me happy and make me able to cope with the daily issues of my life seem silly or inconsequential to you, to me they make all the difference.

Of course there are those few, those lucky few.  You know who I’m talking about... Those people that you’ve run across in your lives that seem to be perpetually happy, lucky, and prosperous.  The ones who never appear to be having a bad day, or when they say they are, you can’t help thinking to yourself “I wish my good days were that bad!”  Just because they seem blissfully happy, and as if nothing bad ever happens to them, doesn’t make it true.  Sometimes the people who appear to be the most happy and the most ‘together’, are the ones that need help, in one form or another, the most.

For the majority of us it’s safe to say that bad things happen - they happen to good people, just as much and as often as they happen to “bad” people.  That’s just life.  But I’ll tell you one thing... When things are bad, hard, and difficult, seeing something or finding something great and beautiful - it can turn things around for you and make a world of change in your life.

So search for the beautiful things, the wondrous things, the amazing things.  And find your simple joys.

Here’s one that I found this week.  Enjoy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Full Scene Spread

So I’ve had a lot going on for the past, well, several months.  Truthfully I went through something of a depressed stage (trying to figure out “what to do with my life now?”), that was preceded by months of a different type of depression - the kind where you do what you have to do day-to-day, but most of it barely registers except for those extremes: the joy, the bliss, the sorrow...

But most recently I’ve been in super busy mode, having finally (metaphorically) slapped myself to awareness and made myself realize that I could continue to be miserable, or I could do something about it.  So I decided to do just that.  Now my personal life is on something of an upswing, plans and actions are moving along reasonably well in that sphere, and I figured it was time to start working on that “balance” thing.  You know, shaking off the tunnel vision every once in awhile and focusing on something else.

So here I am.

tt1843230.jpgBesides trying to keep up-to-date with “the favorites” on TV: Criminals Minds, Law and Order: SVU, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Bunheads, and Once Upon a Time - I actually haven’t been spending a lot of time watching TV.  (Not to mention that my VOD service has been spotty, and my husband has been monopolizing the DVR with Pawn Stars and Lizard Lick Towing.) But because of how busy I’ve been in other spheres of life, by the time I sit down to watch TV I’ve been lucky lately if I make it through a single episode of anything before I’m passed out, and most likely snoring in my lazy boy.
That said, if you haven’t been keeping up with Once Upon a Time - or are within the set of TV viewers that haven’t watched any of this simply amazing show - you need to take the time to GET CAUGHT UP!  Season 2 has thrown us a bunch of twists, turns and “what the?...” moments, that I honestly think makes Once one of the best dramas on TV right now.  Don’t miss out!

I’ve actually seen a handful of the newest cinema releases lately.... 

The Call - while perhaps not Halle Berry’s best movie ever, it attempts to dig in deep and hook you.  This drama/thriller(??) aims to grip you by your emotions, but mostly missed the mark.  I enjoyed it overall but it’s definitely not a movie that I’ll be clamoring to watch again... ever.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation - I was actually really excited to go see this movie.  Both my husband and I loved the first movie when it came out a few years ago, I think we may even have gone to see it twice in the theater, but sadly - Retaliation did not live up to our expectations!  The were very few, if any Joe-gadgets - something that made Rise of the Cobra a distinctive success for me, and in the end Retaliation became just another action movie.  Entertaining, but clearly lacking the WOW factor that we’d expected!

And lastly, The Croods - perhaps one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year. (Granted there are a couple movies out right now that I’m dying to go to...) This was a fun movie that entertained everyone - from my 4-year old daughter, to her 55-year old grandma!  With Laugh-Out-Loud parts, and sweet and serious tear-jerkers, The Croods will be one pick that will definitely end up on my shelf.

Despite how busy I’ve been lately, one thing that I have spent a considerate amount of time doing is reading.  Mostly because my insomnia has been acting up again and reading is one of only a couple of compassionate activities to partake in at 3:30am.  For the most part I’ve been doing re-reads of favorite series: Jean Johnson’s Sons of Destiny series, Stephanie Laurens’ Bastion Club and Cynster series, The Highlander series and the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, a couple of the novellas from the Carpathian series by Christine Feehan, some Lora Leigh books and some Lara Adrian.  Lots of my favorites and all stories that I would recommend to any and everyone!

Most recently I wrapped up a re-read of the entire Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward - which started and finished with reads of Lover at Last, the newest release in the series and the long awaited story of Blaylock and Qhuinn.  Because I love the BDB novels so much I’m going to leave deeper discussion of this book and it’s place and impact on the series for another time, and just say that I loved it, I recommend it to absolutely everyone and leave it at that.  For now.

In the last couple months I’ve stumbled upon a few new authors (or new to me anyways) and a couple new series that I think have a lot of future potential.  I’m going to wait and talk about them in another update too and I hope you’ll check back to find out who and what has caught my interest now!

And in Fan-Fiction news... I haven’t published anything recently, as anyone who checks or is a fan would know, but I am working on a couple things.  I’m (still) working on the next chapter for The Best is Yet to Come - this story can be alternately easy and difficult to write, and this next part to come has been one of the most strenuous parts to write so far.  Rest assured though that I have not given up on this story though, its just a [hard] labor of love.

I’m also working on a new story.  Well, it’s sort of new.  It’s basically a companion story in the An Ending or a New Beginning world.  I’ve been jotting down a bit here and there, and it’s coming along, but I have to make sure that it matches up to the timeline from An Ending or a New Beginning and that I’m not compromising the original story with anything from the new one.  That is after all one of my FF pet-peeves = when a FF-author creates a world, has a whole bunch of stories that fit into it, but constantly contradicts themselves with the details.  So I’m really trying to make sure that I do it right!

Last but DEFINITELY not least - music.  There are always songs that catch my attention, or ones that I just fall in love with right off.  This song is one of those.

Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men

It’s an amazing song, and something of a confusing, messed up video that one YouTube video likened to the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’... Love, love, love this song!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Favourites?!?!?!

So for anyone who has read this blog in the past, or even if you've just arrived and managed to do a little bit of sleuthing around the different pages, you will know (or could know) several things about me...

1) I review what I like - whether it's people, authors, books, tv shows, movies, music or whatever. I do take requests and suggestions but I try to be the type of reviewer that doesn't say much if I don't have something positive to say.

2) I like romance, comedy, history and the paranormal - not everything I discuss falls under these headings but a lot, okay, okay, most does.

3) On a personal note, I'm a mom of three kids, I'm a trained dancer, trained gymnast and certified gymnastics coach. I went to university for my BSc in Biochemistry and though I found it interesting, knew really quickly that it probably wasn't something that I was going to pursue forever.

4) I'm a writer - of my own original fiction and of FanFiction as well.

5) Combine these facts, with myriad others I'm not going to bother mentioning, and you come up with an extremely busy person with a vast array of interests, hobbies and responsibilities. To wit: try as I might to stick to a schedule, I'm an inconsistent blogger.

But boy, when I find something to talk about its hard to get me to shut up! LOL!

Today I'm introducing one of new favourites this season on TV.

Bunheads - the new series by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, which combines great talent, creative production and coreography, and a similar comedic style as what fans loved in the GG series. As an added bonus there are numerous familiar faces in this show. One of the things that I really love with this show are the dance class or performance scenes that are worked into nearly every episode.

May absolute favourite dance of the season comes right at the end of the season finale! 'Making Whoopee' is fun, with creative choreography and style. And really just gives me so many ideas for my own choreography, writing and... Check it out! (I'm having some technical difficulties sharing this video, but copy and paste the address - and enjoy! - and I'll get back to fix this as soon as I can!)