Category Archives: Movies

Pride & Predjudice 200th Anniversary Party Hop

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Happy Happy Anniversary Pride & Prejudice. Can you believe it’s been 200 years? It’s amazing when you think about it that something written so long ago still has such a hold on so many individuals, still inspires such passion in our hearts and minds. I cannot tell you how excited I am to celebrate this milestone and to be able to co-host this fabulous event with author Alyssa Goodnight. Thank you to each and every one of you who are joining us and helping make the Pride and Prejudice 200th Anniversary Party Hop possible.

My love of Jane Austen is something very dear to my heart. This love is something that happened so early on in my life -it has become such an engrained part of who I am as a person and my personality that it’s hard to really remember myself before. Digging further, Pride and Prejudice is an especially personal work for me. I came to love it at the age of 13 when I first read the book…soon after I laid my eyes upon Colin Firth and my Mr. Darcy found a forever face in my mind. It’s also a very very special book for me because of it’s connection to my great great grandmother.

My Granny was a reader. As a child I often spent time with her since she lived only two houses down. She watched me while my mother worked and summers were spent in her care as well. My grandmother was a life-long reader. She owned multiple bookshelves and perusing them became a favorite past time of mine from a very young age. I loved staying up nights reading with her and making my way through her personal bookshelves knowing each book had been read and selected by her. Unfortunately around the age of ten, I was no longer able to spend time with my Granny. She began to suffer from dementia and quickly lost the ability to live on her own, take care of herself and even recognize me. To her the adult Courtney was unconceivable, she pictured me as a little girl and so I stayed away as not to upset her. Needless to say I was devastated. Although she did not pass away until my early twenties…our relationship ended too early and a large hole was put into my heart much before she left this earth. While my grandmother never shared Pride and Prejudice with me personally (I suspect she would have had I reached the age), she did encourage a love of reading that defines me and the path I have chosen in life. When she died I was desperate to revisit our special times and luckily her entire book collection became my very own. By this time I was a devoted Janeite…imagine my joy when I discovered tucked amongst her books her very own copy of Pride and Prejudice.

My Grandmother had a unique habit when she read a book. She would write her name and the year she read it within the cover. However she did not do it to every book she owned. I suspect she started in later in life so her earlier books remained blank.  When I saw that copy of Pride and Prejudice I literally burst into tears but then immediately prayed that it contained her handwritten name as well. As I opened the cover I could not contain myself, inside was her name in the handwriting I will never forget to the day I die. To this day that book is one of most prized and valued objects. It is not only one of my favorite books by my favorite author…it is a link to my Granny. A symbol that she and I are forever linked and so very similar. Though she left me too early, I know she would be so proud of who I have become. For that reason Pride and Prejudice goes so far beyond being just any book. And that one volume means the sun, moon and stars when I hold it in my hands.

Jane Austen Journal Giveaway

Join the Pride & Prejudice 200th Anniversary Party HopPlease remember to join in and travel to all our wonderful participants in this hop…some may even have goodies up for grabs. Speaking of goodies, I wanted to give away something Austen themed for this very special occasion. So the lovely Jane Austen journal below will be finding a home with one of you dear readers. I own one myself and love to jot down quotes that jump out for me and even after over 15 years of Austen, I still come across lines that make me think, laugh and smile. So want to add this journal to your collection of Jane Austen items? It’s very easy to be entered…just share a Pride and Prejudice moment or memory with all of us as we share and celebrate on this very special 200th anniversary. Happy Anniversary Pride and Prejudice…here’s to 200 more years and once again “Bravo” dear Jane.

Giveaway ends midnight EST on January 29, 2013. Open internationally. Winner will be notified via e-mail address.

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Filed under Contests, Events, Jane Austen, Movies, Reading Fun

Review: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

     And then there were six. In the much-anticipated sequel to the widely popular I Am Number Four, the surviving garde remain scattered in various locations in hiding, fleeing and fighting mode, most completely unaware of the other’s locations and welfare.  Their only key to knowing that each other is alive is through their uniquely numbered deaths.  The first three are gone and now only six remain.

 Number four John Smith has fled with his trusted chimera Berni Cosar after the murder of his cepan and life long father figure Henri. He now finds himself perpetually on the run. Narrowly escaping Paradise, Ohio with nowhere to turn, he struggles to remain hidden from both the alien forces of the vicious Mogadorians, the police and now the military since he is mistakenly believed to be a possible terrorist by the United States Government. Travelling by his side for the completely unpredictable ride is the ferociously mysterious raven-haired number six and his loyal human friend Sam.

 Dealing with the death of his adoptive father and the loss of leaving behind his human love interest Sarah has been tough on John but keeping on the run and searching for answers to his destiny continues to keep him occupied. It seems everywhere he turns eyes are watching him although one particular watcher is an elite member of the Lorien garde just like him. In this book readers are given a view into not only John’s Smith’s fast-paced world but the world of another more feminine garde member as well.  While many readers may hope for more of the secretive number six, a new female character emerges in The Power of Six.

 As we follow the plight of number four we also become involved in the story of another Lorien child: number seven.  Marina has been safely hidden in Spain deep within the serene convent of Santa Theresa for some time now. Life has become calm and almost boring in its consistency with most of her excitement coming from scouring the news for evidence of those like herself. She watches daily, eager for tell tale signs of other garde as her Legacies develop in the protection of the orphanage.  However safety may not last and soon Marina may be put to the test just like John. Will they find one another or will the garde continue to fight alone and die one by one?

 In this action packed sequel Pittacus Lore has allowed us a differing view into the world of Lorien through his multiple character insights. Instead of only John Smith’s point of view, readers are now given a more calming and feminine insight in that of Marina, which adds a whole new voice to the world of the Loriens.  Also beneficial is the added general information about the planet of Lorien and it’s illusive history including the garde, their hidden legacies and a fabled tale of what will happen in their near future.

 In The Power of Six readers will delight in the active and descriptive fight scenes while also enjoying delving into more of the secrets hidden deep within the lore of the garde.  Questions are answered and new ones are posed in a sequel that lives up to its predecessor’s immense success.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore will be released on August 23, 2011.

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Filed under Fantasy, Movies, New Books, Young Adult Books

Review & Giveaway: Bride Flight by Marieke van der Pol

“It is 1953, and the last great transcontinental air race from London to Christchurch is about to begin, but even before the KLM plane has left the runway, it has already become famous as the bride flight. Of its 60 emigrating passengers, many are brides-to-be flying out to join their fiances on the other side of the world. Among them are Ada, Marjorie and Esther, each of them with their own reasons for wanting to leave behind the hardships of post-war life at home, and their own pasts. During the trip they meet Frank, a charismatic bachelor, who will come to have a dramatic influence on their lives, and who exerts a continued hold over each of the women as they follow their very different paths in New Zealand. It is only when they meet again, years later at Frank’s funeral, that the three women – now brides in black – get to hear each other’s stories for the first time and realise just how closely their lives have been bound together by what happened on the bride flight.”

I love modern historical fiction but good historical fiction with commercial appeal can be hard to find. Bride Flight is the perfect mix. It’s multiple character view points and historical detail make for a tale of sweeping proportions that comes across almost with a movie-like feel which is perfect since it has recently be made for the big screen.(Movie details here).
Originally the novel was a screenplay and this is easily spotted when one begins reading. The book hooks you from the first chapter with teasing tidbits to keep you going. Marieke van der Pol is a talented writer who weaves a story that is impossible to predict. Twists and turns and emotional moments seem to hide behind every other page keeping the book fresh and enticing. It’s part historical fiction, part love story…and it’s impossible to put down.

Book Giveaway

Three lucky readers of Stiletto Storytime will win their very own copy of Bride Flight. Giveaway ends midnight EST July 14, 2011. US addresses only please. Winners will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter simply comment below answering this question…what is your favorite historical fiction book or series?

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter (Leave Name)

Like “Bride Flight” movie on Facebook (Leave Name)

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave links in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Contests, historical fiction, Movies

The Book vs. The Big Screen: The Shining by Stephen King

“Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their young son Danny move into the Overlook Hotel, where Jack has been hired as the winter caretaker. Cut off from civilization for months, Jack hopes to battle alcoholism and uncontrolled rage while writing a play. Evil forces residing in the Overlook – which has a long and violent history – covet young Danny for his precognitive powers and exploit Jack’s weaknesses to try to claim the boy.”

We’ve all seen the movie. It’s somewhat iconic and even had a starring role in another hit movie where it played on the big screen as a large twister tore through town. We remember the spooky twins in the hallway and the metallic click of the typewriter keys along with many other never to be forgotten lines and moments. I’m talking about The Shining REDRUM…”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Chances are you’ve seen it and probably more than once but the question is:

Have you read it?

Awhile back I came across an article about Stephen King’s inspiration for the novel The Shining. As it turns out the novel was inspired by King’s stay at the remote Stanley Hotel on the night before it was to be closed up for the winter much like the premise for the Overlook Hotel in the novel.  I am a big fan of the 1980 movie The Shining and I knew it was based on a Stephen King work but it had never occurred to me to actually read the book. However the article peaked my interest and boy am I glad that it did.

The Shining is a great book that truly stands on its own from the movie. While the movie runs true to the book in most instances, many of the scariest parts of the movie and the book are exclusive to each other which allows reading the book to be an entirely new experience in many ways. Also the book begins much earlier than the movie with additional side plots and details that deepen the background story of the Torrance family. Anyone who enjoys the movie will no doubt enjoy the added content contained in the novel. Will you be scared?  This probably depends upon the reader. I myself am usually not frightened by books. However there was one moment that really spooked me in the book but besides being eerily creepy..I didn’t lose any sleep.

The Verdict

In the end I think the book and the movie are a tie on this one. They stand alone so well it’s hard to make a decision as if they are the exact same story. They compliment one another more than anything. As for scary…the movie probably does it better. Suspense…probably the book which really keeps you going for long periods of time. The verdict…all in all…I say read the book and watch the movie. Both shouldn’t be missed.

Have you seen/read both? What do you think? What other book to movie combos are your favorite? What ones would you like to be featured on “The Book vs. The Big Screen”?

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Filed under Adult Books, Books vs. The Big Screen, Movies, Paranormal

Book Birthday: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Happy Book Birthday to

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

“A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.”
Let me begin by stating that I rarely get scared by a book. Now I am not saying that this book necessarily scared me but the creepy factor on this one is right on up there for all of you lovers of all things that go “bump in the night”. This is probably one of the more unsettling books I have ever read and rightly so considering it’s subject matter at times.  Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is jarring for many reasons but the main one for me was the tying in of the true horrors of history with the paranormal. Monsters may not scare many when written about on the page of a book but who can deny the fear of true life events that cost millions of lives. Secondly the connection of the story and the photographs truly makes this book. Usually my imagination can top almost anything visually offered to me in a book but in this case I think the photographs truly help tell the story in a way that would not be possible without them. Undeniably odd and unique, this is one book you don’t want to miss and probably won’t be able to since everyone will be talking about it.
Part horror , part historical and part fantasy, Ransom Riggs has created a story that will sweep you away to another place. The question is do you want to go there?  Every family has secrets but some have horrors of fantastical nature lurking in their past.
Reading in bed at night with this one is the only way to go.
Book Giveaway

Thanks to the superbly generous Quirk Books three lucky readers of Stiletto Storytime will win their very own copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and a promotional poster. Giveaway ends midnight EST June 14, 2011. US and Canada address only please. Winners will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter simply watch the creepy trailer for this book (you will not regret it) and leave a comment below letting me know why you want to read it? What has caught your eye? And just so you know the movie rights have already been purchased by 20th Century Fox so get ready for this book to also hit the big screen sometime in the future.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower Quirk Books on  Twitter

Tweet or Blog about this “Book Birthday” Giveaway (Please leave links in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Book Birthday, Contests, Movies, New Books, Paranormal, Young Adult Books

Giveaway: Jane Eyre 2011 Prize Pack

Today is the day. Those of you who follow Stiletto Storytime know I am a devoted Janeite. I love Jane Austen. She is no doubt my favorite author. However I am also a devoted Janeite of a different type. My favorite novel of all time just happens to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. As I have said before Jane Eyre is like comfort food to me. It is my go-to book when I am under the weather or in need of a safe haven within the pages of a book. I read it multiple times a year and watch my favorite adaptations quite frequently. I feel almost as adamantly about my favorite Mr. Rochester (Ciaran Hinds) as I do about my favorite Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). However one must wonder will that change as we usher in the newest Mr. Rochester?  Only time shall tell….

Taking all this into consideration you can imagine how excited I am about today being the release date for the latest Jane Eyre movie adaptation. This newest take on the classic from Focus Features hits select theatres today March 11, 2011. For show times, trailers, cast information and a fantastic trip sweepstakes you can go to the film’s website or visit their Facebook Page. There is also a JANE EYRE GoodReads Challenge afoot and a new Reading Guide from the 2011 Film.

Want an early review and sneak peek from a Bronte expert? Check out The Jane Austen Blog which is hosting author Syrie James with her review of the new film.

Prize Pack Giveaway

And now for some real Jane Eyre excitement. Thanks to Focus Features two Stiletto Storytime readers will be winning a fantastic Jane Eyre 2011 Prize Pack including: a Soundtrack Sampler, Book Mark, Journal, Pencil and a copy of the Movie Tie-In version of Jane Eyre.

Giveaway ends midnight EST March 25, 2011. US and Canada addresses only please. Winners will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Winners have 48 hours to respond to e-mail before new winners will be chosen.

To enter simply leave a comment below and share an experience with Jane Eyre. Are you newbie, a devoted fan or just interested in getting in on the giveaway action?  Do you have a special memory for this book? When and where did you first experience it? If you have seen the new film please share your opinion. We would love to know what you thought. Really just share anything about you and the eternal classic that is Jane Eyre.

Want extra entries? No need to write a separate comment for each. Just list them all in one comment please to make it as simple as possible for everyone to enter.

You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower or Subscriber of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Sign up for The Classics Challenge 2011 (Those already signed up will be automatically entered.)

If you post a  review for The Classics Challenge 2011 by midnight March 25th, 2011 EST you will automatically be given 5 extra entries for each review posted by that date. Your reviews must be recent posts meaning posted since the challenge began in January 2011. Please read over the guidelines for The Classics Challenge for any lingering questions.

~Good Luck to all….Happy Reading and Watching! In my opinion you can never have too much Jane Eyre! ~

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Filed under Classic Literature, Contests, Events, Movies

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Imagine a place where children grow up together without parents but instead guardians. They are encouraged to be healthy, well behaved and as creative as possible. Their days are filled with arts, academic lessons, time with friends and sports. They are nurtured in many ways by not only those who care for them but by each other as well. Imagine these children of every age and appearance from the infants to the gangly teenagers, growing together in a beautiful private school in the English countryside. This is Hailsham. The children of Hailsham are told they are special. They are important to the world beyond.  However they never see this world beyond until adulthood when they will transition and then make their contribution to society.  No one questions from where they came but only from hence they will go.  Until that time they can only guess and wonder at what is beyond their school grounds, rumor often becomes truth in their minds.  Never Let Me Go is a novel that I went into knowing nothing about and I have to say I am thankful for it. It was book that led me slowly into another world. Written so simplistically it is beautiful in its emotionally evoking tale but also heartbreaking at times. It is a book to become absorbed into, to lose yourself in, then to contemplate long after. Kazuo Ishiguro is an amazing writer who creates words made into art that you can find yourself lost in for hours. While I did not know it at the time of picking up this novel, a movie is being made of Never Let Me Go. I am so glad to have had the experience of reading the book before viewing the movie. I encourage anyone who truly wants to connect with this book to do the same. However here is the trailer for those who are interested. I must say that I am very excited to see what will be done with this book on film. It could truly be amazing if done correctly. The film will be released on October 1, 2010 in the United States.

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Filed under Adult Books, Award Winners, Movies

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

http://enterthepassage.com/wp-content/themes/EnterthePassage/images/passage-cover.jpg The Passage is an adventure spanning decades, genres and voices. It is a journey of characters and their beliefs paired with questions of morality and the fate of the future world. It’s also good to use as a doorstop or a weapon of defense in case of emergency considering its staggering size at nearly 800 pages. In short it’s not “light” reading in any sense of the word but worth reading nonetheless. A long walk worth taking even though you have no idea of the path ahead or the twists and turns it may take.

The first in a trilogy The Passage hovers somewhere between dystopian science fiction and contemporary masterpiece. It is a book comprised of many books, characters and settings. The story of Amy, the girl who does not die and yet is a part of a force that is death itself is the center of Cronin’s tale. This force decimating what we know of the modern world is one we have known of in many forms. Vampire, zombie, drac, smoke…no matter the name, we have listened to the tales throughout history and yet now it is made new. Cronin not only makes the story breath new life but also even makes it somewhat believable. However the child Amy is the center of all and what truly makes the pages turn as the reader searches for her and her fate in the lives of others.  She is a beacon not only for the characters but for the reader as well.

The Many are what make up this book. The stories of each character, their lives, their fears, their hopes, even memories and the ties that bind are what make this book worth its weight. Cronin weaves together stories as he creates a web of prose that at times is breathtaking in its simplicity and other times so complex in its technical aspects, the reader may wonder if it could possibly still be the same book. Any yet it is and Amy remains a fixture to lead readers through.

To say Justin Cronin has written a blockbuster would be true, to say he has written some utterly beautiful lines would be true as well but that they are in the same book is what might come as a surprise. The Passage has a quality that I have never seen before, it is such a mixture of literary parts and yet it works and flows perfectly.  The Passage is a book to get lost in and find yourself still in the same position many hours later still wanting more. And since it is a trilogy, we hope more is sure to come.

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Filed under Adult Books, Movies, New Books

The Classics Circuit: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

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I’ve never read a book where my mind imagines the characters and scenes in black and white until now. The darkly handsome, well dressed Detective and the gorgeous Damsel in Distress, the lover who just won’t go away, the loyal worker….this book has got it all. As the Classics Circuit continues its Tour of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, I myself have indulged in a reading of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet, a man that at one point in time was known as the “master of the detective story’. The Maltese Falcon is of course probably most well know for the 1941 movie adaptation which is why I think I am imagining it in black and white despite the fact that I must admit I have never seen the classic film. The trailer is fantastic however and how could it not be with Humphrey Bogart playing the womanizing Detective Sam Spade.

The real Maltese Falcon is an interesting read and even more so if you are a crime or detective fiction reader. I myself am not, but the book still kept me guessing and interested. Detective Sam Spade is a fascinating character on many levels..he is both like-able and detestable. Something I find is often the case in the best characters of all time. The mystery of the falcon itself is also quite interesting. I think you could ask the average individual if they had ever heard of the “maltese falcon” and they would say yes but be completely unable to explain exactly what it is. While I don’t want to give anything away about the plot or ending to this wonderful mystery, I will say it is a book full of characters and dialogue that simply jump off the page.  The characterization is spectacular…Effie Perine is one of my personal favorites but there are so many. I know it is a book that many would enjoy…and a true classic in its own right beyond the film adaptation. I highly recommend it to readers of this genre. Also truly interesting are the variety of covers I was able to dig up, my personal copy that I read was the very last which I found the most glamorous!

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In my research I also came across some interesting links for mystery lovers:

Mystery.net : Lots of information on mysteries of all types including books, authors, film and TV

Stop You’re Killing Me: A great site with information on the latest in mystery including a newsletter

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books: Information on mysteries new and old, even first editions

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Filed under Adult Books, Classic Literature, Movies

Confessions of a Librarian

I confess that I sometimes wish librarians still dressed like they did in the movie Desk Set. Heels, pearls and all that jazz! I loved the styles of that era and just the general put togetherness it represented.I loved that Katherine had a fur and wore silk shantung…so chic and yet super smart as well! Librarians can be both you know. (I would choose a nice fake fur though, don’t worry.) If you have not seen it, Desk Set is a must and only one of many movies done by Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy together.

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As we all know National Library Week is coming up April 11-17th. Make sure to thank your local library, librarians and staff. With the recent recession have come budget cuts causing salary reductions, reduced hours and even the closing of libraries…..so tell them what they and their services mean to you. I promise it will make their day! As a book blogger my local library is a place that I use to the maximum for books to review and generally enjoy. I could never afford to purchase every book that I review…and that is the joy of libraries! Now as I embark on a new career at home…I will admit to missing checking my shelves regularly…coming in to the library first thing in the morning when it’s so quiet…the smell of books all around….and all those little eyes looking brightly at you during storytime as though you were doing magic by simply reading them a book.  Well…I guess that may sound odd to some but it’s the sure calling of being a librarian and I am very proud to have answered it. Now although I am no longer in the library professionally, I get the joy of taking my son to storytime and sharing the joy of reading with all of you through Stiletto Storytime.

And now for some fun: Hodge Podge did a nice post awhile back about movies involving either libraries or librarians…can you name some below in the comments before you go to the site and see the answers?

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Filed under Library Fun, Movies