28/02/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - WINTER IN THE SOUL BY JENNIFFER NOVOTNEY

Winter in the Soul CoverWinter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney

 In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul. When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul. Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?


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Praise for the Book

“This book is original, cleverly written and most of all a great read.” 

 “This novel is very suspenseful and can be enjoyed by young and old alike.” 

 “I really, really liked the story line, it is fresh take in the high fantasy/magic genre.”

27/02/2015

DO WOMEN WRITE BETTER THAN MEN?


I don't particularly agree with stereotyped considerations and cliches or generalizations, but this survey proposed by grammarly.com sounds interesting. Have a look and feel free to share your opinions and comments below. Do women write better than men?

26/02/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE THIRD TWIN BY C.J. OMOLOLU

third Twin

The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life. Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect—Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer . . . or Alicia is real.


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24/02/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE CRYSTAL KEEPER BY LAURISA WHITE REYES

Crystal Keeper 1 to 3 The Crystal Keeper by Laurisa White Reyes

Fourteen years before The Rock of Ivanore… Jayson lives among the shadows of Hestoria, his sole purpose for staying alive – to protect his half of the Seer’s crystal. Exiled from his homeland for loving the king’s daughter, Ivanore, Jayson is now pursued by two opposing factions: the Vatéz (League of Magicians) who intend to use the crystal for their own selfish gain, and the Guilde, the ancient guardians of the crystal. Meanwhile, Ivanore flees from her father to Hestoria in search of Jayson. As the Seer, she is plagued with visions of him being tortured and is determined to rescue him. When the Vatéz capture her, however, she unwittingly jeopardizes everything Jayson has vowed to protect. He must now make a terrible choice: Should he save Ivanore or save the crystal? The Crystal Keeper trilogy is available in print or digital formats.

21/02/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - MIRANDA'S CHOICE BY MYA O'MALLEY

Miranda's Choice by Mya O'MalleyMiranda's Choice by Mya O'Malley

Have you ever felt that the grass is greener everywhere else? Meet Miranda James. Miranda has a problem. Her friends and family are wrapped up in themselves, so clueless. With divorced parents, a mother who is always on her case and a new step-mother on the horizon, Miranda wishes that everybody would just grow up. In a moment of magic, Miranda is mysteriously pulled into the life of a charming mermaid and her adventurous daughter. Why can’t her life be so carefree and exhilarating? Why can’t her own mother be more like Abigail, the mermaid? Be careful what you wish for though. Only through self-realization can Miranda figure out that perhaps the grass is not always greener. Held captive in an underwater paradise, Miranda wishes to desperately recapture the life she used to have. Through many twists and turns, Miranda is caught up in a whirlwind of emotions, including finding her first true love. Miranda is faced with making a decision that will not only affect her own life, but also those around her. What would you choose?

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20/02/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE RULES OF ROME BY A.L. SOWARDS

Rules of Rome The Rules in Rome

With Hitler’s forces firmly entrenched in Europe, countless heroes seek to end the madman’s reign. Bastien Ley is one of the best. Working in Italy for the Office of Strategic Services, he’s been tasked with sabotaging German convoys. When his team kills an officer headed for Rome, the man’s similarity to Bastien is undeniable, and seeing an opportunity to turn the tide of the war, Bastien makes a bold decision: he will assume the dead officer’s identity. He becomes Dietrich, an Iron Cross–wearing German officer—an ideal position from which to infiltrate the Nazi ranks in Rome. To help with his stressful assignment, his superiors send him a reinforcement in the form of the lovely Gracie Begni, an intelligent and eager radio operator with absolutely no undercover experience. With a gulf of resentment between them, these two agents must find a way to portray a couple in love. Soon their reluctant alliance becomes much more as Bastien and Gracie find themselves getting lost in their feelings for each other. But as they engage in battle against the deadliest foe the world has ever known, the pair quickly realizes their love may be doomed. As the Rome Gestapo threatens to destroy all they’ve worked for, will Bastien and Gracie survive their charade?


  Praise for The Rules in Rome

 - Readers who hunger for a great espionage thriller with an extra helping of romance will devour The Rules in Rome. A.L. Sowards is at the top of her craft with this terrific WWII suspense novel. It is definitely a book not to be missed! Gregg Luke, author of Bloodborne and Deadly Undertakings   

19/02/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - SALLY SMITH O'ROURKE, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Days of Future PastDays of Future Past by Sally Smith O'Rourke

It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think of as our present existence, as a dream. --Edgar Allen Poe Fate sometimes conspires to right a decades-old wrong. And the 6.8 earthquake that strikes Southern California one warm March night is the fateful event that brings family therapist Ann Hart and trauma specialist Ted McConaughy back together. In search of her cell phone after the tremor, Ann picks up a shard of vintage cut glass from a collection she and her husband gathered during the four years of their marriage. 

For the millionth time she thinks about the day six years ago when he disappeared on a search and rescue mission in the Sierra foothills. Sitting atop the shattered crystal, a small silver cigar lighter glistens in the beam of her flashlight. Gently she returns the Victorian piece to the shelf. What does it mean that something she and Ted, her ex-fiancé, bought together survived when Alex’s beautiful glass is smashed to dust? Ann tells herself that it doesn’t mean anything more than glass breaks and silver doesn’t. Sara Jane McConaughy has never experienced a strong earthquake, and as her father comforts his 16-year-old daughter, his mind is flooded with memories of the Northridge quake in 1994. 

He was living with his fiancée, his ex-fiancée, and even after all these years he doesn’t know what caused the split, but he always loved her. And he’d been sure she loved him. Volunteering with the American Red Cross in the aftermath of the earthquake brings Ann and Ted face-to-face for the first time since their break-up, twenty years ago. Angry, flustered, excited, and bewildered by Ted’s sudden appearance and unusual behavior while she’s teaching a small group of people relaxing exercises, Ann demands he leave. Just as excited and bewildered, Ted rushes away. His exit leaves both of them wondering about … everything. 

16/02/2015

JEFFREY PERREN, THIS WRITER'S LIFE - MEET THE AUTHOR OF COSSACKS IN PARIS


Up before dawn — tea for me, coffee for the wife, pet the dog. Check emails, correspondence with beta readers, and miscellaneous.

So far, that doesn’t sound very exciting. But that’s the business side of things. I leave as much of that as I can to my publicist — remembering how blessed I am to have one who loves my work.

Later, write or edit the latest story. It will be a re-telling of the William Tell legend and later a trilogy set in the Age of Discovery.

15/02/2015

THE WIFE MAKER BOOK BLAST + GIVEAWAY

Wife MakerThe Wife Maker by Karey White

Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants. Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.







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14/02/2015

DIFFERENT SHADES OF LOVE - WHAT WILL ITALIAN VALENTINES SEE TODAY?


Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Both to those of you who will celebrate and those who won't, May this day be filled with love, of any type,  for anyone and anything. 

Many girls will spend part of this day with their beaus today and may possibly  convince them to join them and  see a romantic movie,  a beautiful love story to warm up a very special date. 

What are the romances my fellow Italian movie-goers in love will find in their cities'  theatres?

12/02/2015

FIFTY SHADES OF ... GRAMMAR!

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star in Fifty Shades of Grey 

Well, we can shout our dissent in a hundred different ways, anyhow Fifty Shades of Grey will be as successful on screen as it was in print. It has been released in theatres just in time for Valentine's Day and it'll be seen by millions of enthusiastic fans and many others will join them following the hype. 

You know, dear critics and detractors (me included),  all your attacks and hammering against it have only made it a bigger event. 
Now,  it is time we give it a break and accept the fact that so many people like or even love this peculiar (may I say that?) love story.

When I read the first book in E L James's  trilogy to discover what all the fuss was about, I was totally puzzled by the poor quality of the writing. It was even worse of the worst fanfiction I had ever read. But, the Grammarly team doesn't agree with me and reviewed the book for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, learning that — although there were some mistakes — the errors were in alignment with similar gaffes in celebrated romances!

They have sent me the results in this amusing infographic below. Check out some of the most frequent grammar mistakes from Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as some quotes from classic romances that also make these mistakes. The language of love really is a language of its own!

11/02/2015

WAITING FOR THE OSCAR NIGHT - THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing - The Imitation Game


"Sometimes it's the very people who no one imagines anything of 
who do the things no one can imagine"

Alan Turing was a prodigy endowed with incredible stubborness and will power. He succeeded in an apparently impossible enterprise saving thousands of lives during WWII: he invented a machine to decrytp  Enigma, the Germans' secret code, thus boycotting many of their deadly attacks on Britain. He saved all those lives  thanks to his ingenious intuition, algorithms and computation being almost a game to him . He contributed to change the outcomes of a horrifying war,  designing his machine which could compute thousands of figures at a speed a human mind could have never achieve, neither the most brilliant. He is now considered one of the fathers of computer science and a war hero. 

06/02/2015

BLOG TOUR - DIAMOND RINGS ARE DEADLY THINGS BY RACHELLE J. CHRISTENSEN + GIVEAWAY

diamond rings (1) 


diamond rings are deadlyDiamond Rings are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen

Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success–that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is on to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.  

Amazon

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Praise

“I love Rachelle J. Christensen’s stories and characters, and Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things is another thrilling mystery to add to my collection. Don’t be surprised if you have to stay up all night to finish he book!” ~Rachel Ann Nunes, author of Before I Say Goodbye 

04/02/2015

DEFINING CONTEMPORARY ART - A BOOK, A VIDEO

25 years in 200 pivotal artworks

(by guest blogger Thomas K Brent)

In terms of contemporary art, people often feel lost. What makes a very great masterpiece of design? Why is usually this painting better than that just one? What will be the qualities people should be seeking? When can be an artist faking it? As a result people are always researching to sharpen the mind, to assist to produce a better see and expand the setting. That’s why people adore Defining Contemporary Art, a fresh book posted by Phaidon. Eight well known curators choose 200 pivotal artworks from the last 30 years along with explain why those performs changed the lifetime of art. Big surprise: even a few Belgian painters made your cut.

02/02/2015

MERYTON PRESS SHORT STORY CONTEST - SUMMER LOVIN'



BEGINS9:00 a.m. Feb 1, 2015 (US Pacific time)
ENDS11:59 p.m. March 15, 2015 (US Pacific Time)
Meryton Press is conducting a contest to find the best short stories.
The theme of the contest, “Summer Lovin’,” represents the summer season. The interpretation of the theme is left to the writer’s imagination; the story may have summer as a backdrop or may convey a sense of happiness and light. It might be a romantic comedy set in the South Pacific, a thriller in the everglades of Florida, a romance in Queen Victoria’s summer court, an ode to the ocean and Elizabeth Bennet, or a mail -order bride in the Old West—anything your summer muse suggests.
Any genre is acceptable as long as there is ROMANCE. Austenesque is a plus, but is not required. In other words, so long as there is a commonly accepted or acceptable interpretation of the theme embedded in the plot, it works for us. However, this contest is not for children’s stories. Our target audience is readers over 18 years old.
The contest will be judged by a panel of independent judges, and the results will be announced by mid-April 2015.

DREAMING OF VENICE WITH LAURA MORELLI'S TRAVEL GUIDE BOOKS + AWESOME GIVEAWAY

Planning a trip to dreamy Venice? Just dreaming of being there one day? Or you've already been there and would like to leaf through your beautiful memories? These wonderful travel guides by Laura Morelli will be of great help and I'm really glad to give you the chance to know more about them and even win them in the giveaway you'll find right below this post. Good luck and happy dreams, everyone!

Traditional Arts of Venice

( guest post by Laura Morelli

By its very nature, Venice is a walking city. Devoid of automobiles and bikes, Venice requires your feet—and occasionally a boat—to get where you want to go. The city is replete with opportunities to window-shop, to pause and chat with a shop owner, to linger over unexpected treasures and finds among the maze-like streets and squares in which you will find yourself inevitably lost.
When I stroll along the alleys and quaysides, my mind flashes with images of what Venice must have been like some five hundred years ago: a city-as-artisanal-factory, its doors open to the streets, its wares spilling out onto the cobblestones. It is easy to conjure the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer and aroma of hot coals from the forge; to envision glassblowers twisting molten shapes at the end of their blowpipes; to imagine woodworkers, painters, and gilders sweeping sawdust flecked with red pigments and gold out into the alleys from the thresholds of their doors. That’s because, in spite of cycles of decline and renewal in its artisanal enterprises over the past three hundred years, Venice maintains its place as a world capital of the handmade, the beautiful, the richly colored, the impossibly ornate.

01/02/2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ... REBEL QUEEN BY MICHELLE MORAN + GREAT GIVEAWAY



Out on March 3rd!
I'm really happy to share this awesome upcoming release with you all: Rebel Queen,  a new brilliant historical fiction novel by the internationally bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter, will be out on March 3rd! Michelle Moran is back with the breathtaking story of Queen Lakshmi—India’s Joan of Arc—who against all odds defied the mighty British invasion to defend her beloved kingdom.

Below this post you can enter a great giveaway contest: it is open internationally, you can win and receive a signed hardback copy as well as gorgeous bangles directly from the author. If you participate in this giveaway, you can receive a free signed bookplate clicking  HERE and entering your details. The giveaway ends on February 9th. Good luck!

About the book

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge.

31/01/2015

THE ONLY THING WORTH SAYING: WHAT ONE FEELS - FROM VIRGINIA WOOLF TO FABIO STASSI.



“Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying – what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.” 

I love this quote from Mrs Dalloway and day after day Woolf's melancholic heroine becomes dearer to my heart.  Mrs Dalloway's suggestion of saying what one feels simply and plain  is something I can agree with. Not an easy task, though. To reveal one's own feelings makes a person fragile but,  if you think twice, it makes a person stronger as well. 

Cleverness may help you look stronger, but it may be silly on certain occasions in life. What ones? Those Woolf calls "moments of being".  It is not your brain nor your cleverness which help you through those moments. It is not a question of sentimentality, but one of honesty and truth. 


I may have become a tiny bit sentimental in my old age, I can't deny it,  and that is something,  I hope,  understandable. However, I think this is the time to say what we feel, because ...  if not now, when? How we feel is important, crucial, vital and we have not much more time to waste in lies and not much more space for regrets. 

I started writing this post after meeting,  for the second time in less than a year, a man who dares to share what he feels, not only what he thinks: gifted writer and extraordinary man, Fabio Stassi. He is highly communicative,  grounded and self-deprecative, smiling and direct, simple and astonishingly deep. 
Second meeting and second epiphany: this man and his words can make my heart melt and my brain  work out a flow of thoughts quite like ... fireworks. So many inputs that my mind's reaction is an explosion of ideas and feelings. You see?  I'm just telling you what I felt, the only thing worth saying.  

So what did Fabio Stassi say that was so thought - provoking and emotionally strong? He discussed his book, Come un respiro interrotto, with an audience of readers in a town not distant from mine and I was there with friends. He managed to surprise me with the analysis of themes, motifs and ideas which were different from the ones we had discussed when I happened to listen to him for the first time last summer. 

29/01/2015

DRESS LIKE A CRAWLEY - STYLE INSPIRATION FROM THE LADIES OF DOWNTON ABBEY

If you’re anything like me, you sometimes get a little distracted while watching Downton Abbey.

It’ll be the middle of an important scene, full of subtle dramatic tension and all of a sudden, you realize that you’ve completely tuned out the dialogue because you’re studying one of the character’s outfit so closely. 

You get lost in a sea of dropped waist dresses, intricate beading and gorgeous hats.  And you’re also probably thinking, “Is there some way I can get away with dressing like I just stepped off of a sprawling Edwardian estate?” 

The answer, thankfully, is yes.  Well, sort of. 

You may not want to go whole hog period fashion, or you might risk looking costumey, but there are certainly ways you can incorporate the style into what you wear every day.

Color Me Softly


When it comes to a color palette, if you want to fit in at Downton, you should stick to soft shades.  Think colors like dusty rose, pale mint, creams, grays, lavender, and light blues.  The overall effect you’re going for is delicately feminine, so stick to muted tones as opposed to vibrant ones.  You do sometimes see the Crawley ladies in more saturated colors, but that’s only for formal occasions, and only once in a while.

Art Deco Details


The Art Deco design movement can clearly be seen in the fashion of Downton Abbey.  Everything from the jewelry to the details on dresses is inspired by the symmetrical, geometric elements seen in things like the stained glass, furniture and architecture of the time period. 

27/01/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - DEVON'S CHOICE BY CATHERINE BENNETT

devon's choiceDevon's Choice

 Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer. Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?


 Excerpt 

Brandon looked over at her  neutral expression. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Michael Turner didn’t seem to be making her happy. At that moment, all he wanted to do was to make her forget all about the jerk. As if sensing him watching her, Devon turned her head enough to make eye contact with him. The faint, milky glow from the streetlight showed enough of her features for him to see a soft blush warm her cheeks. Under her dark lashes, he watched her sea green eyes glint invitingly as her soft lips turned up at the corners. In that moment, his resolve to keep the date on a friendly level came crashing down.

21/01/2015

OUTLANDER NEWS - DVD & BLU-RAY OUT SOON


Have you been envying Outlander fans in the US who have been able to enjoy this amazing series on TV? It's time for you to stop wishing and dreaming. 
Have you,  instead,  seen it on Starz and want to rewatch it,  because you can't have enough, because add it you your Outlander book collection, you wish to own it or think of giving it as a  present to friends to share the love? 
The big news is that you can do all that right now! Outlander season 1, volume 1 will be released on Digital HD on February 9 and on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd. Loaded with extras (see details below!) 

You can pre-order your copy HERE

The second half of season 1 will be aired from April 4th. Episode  9 will be broadcast,  which includes one of the most controversial  scenes in Gabaldon's book. It will be a shocking  and shaking moment for millions of Jamie Fraser's fans. 
While eagerly expecting for the darker part of the series, here is a great surprise gift : A 2-disc set for collectors! Read on to discover more.

20/01/2015

BLOG TOUR - JEREMY'S PROMISE BY A.R.TALLEY

Jeremy's PromiseJeremy's Promise by A.R. Talley

The trip that was meant to save Annie and Jeremy’s marriage brought it to near ruin. Now Annie has returned home, frightened and confused. Jeremy, too, is frightened—and angry. What will it take to save their marriage? It’s clear. Jeremy needs to forgive—Annie needs to forget. A promise is made. A tragedy occurs. A second honeymoon is disrupted. A chance encounter brings David Andrews back into Annie’s life. Annie is determined to remain faithful. She’s made a promise she intends to keep—Jeremy’s Promise.


Praise for Jeremy's Promise

 A.R. Talley, gives you a believable look at the struggle of one couple to reconnect and heal their marriage, with dialog which sweeps you into the moment as if you were there with them, experiencing both their pain and recovery. Kudos to the author who has once again produced a book I couldn't put down, as well as one I felt compelled to read multiple times. ~Donna Dech 

Jeremy's Promise second book in a trilogy by A.R. Talley is an awesome, emotional, romantic, highly recommended, well written story with captivating and engaging characters. ~Debbie Ballard 

19/01/2015

THE OUTLANDER SAGA BY DIANA GABALDON - VOYAGER (BOOK 3)


Someone has named it "Droughtlander" and Outlander fans know exactly what I mean. I've found a very good remedy to cope with its symptoms: going on reading the rest of the saga. Someone told me I'm lucky because I still have so much to read and discover. Good, then! Lucky me has taken her task quite seriously and undertaken her journey through the world of Outlander books enthusiastically.


Voyager - Book Blurb

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love. 

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
First of all, I must admit Diana Gabaldon has surprised me more than once so far. Lots of unexpected twists and reversals of fortune and thousands of pages! Her creativity and craft are astonishing.

Furthermore,  my storage of visual aids, though incomplete at this point of my reading (the TV series is way back in the narration respect to Gabaldon's printed production), has been of remarkable support in this very long journey and has make it more pleasant, if possible  (see picture below). 

Not long ago I posted my review of book 2, Dragonfly in Amber, which I rated four stars out of  five. But for book 3, Voyager, I need a full score: five stars! I've loved reading it more than the previous one and so far it is my best favourite.

17/01/2015

GRANTCHESTER PREMIERES ON PBS MASTERPIECE


It was on British ITV last autumn and now, on January 18th 2015,  it will premiere in the US, thanks to PBS Masterpiece. A real feast for all our American period-drama-loving friends  who will enjoy this new 6-part drama series , Grantchester, on the same night as Downton Abbey 5. Each Sunday night they will move from Yorkshire to Cambridgeshire and will follow the adventures of their old and new English heroes and heroines comfortably sitting in their armchairs. Two hours of pure Englishness!

James Norton, we saw in Belle and Death Comes to Pemberley, plays an atypical young vicar, Sidney Chambers,  whose main hobby is crime solving. Robson Green plays  his partner and friend,  Police Inspector Geordie Keating.

15/01/2015

AT THE CINEMA - BET THEY WILL BECOME HITS? SEEING THE FUTURE OF MOVIES FOR 2015

Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in Gone Girl
Seeing the future of movies for 2015 is pretty predictable!

In recent years, I have had a bit of an epiphany. As a movie lover, I am continually buying my ticket and my ridiculously expensive popcorn (but it really does taste better!), in order to see movies, the ads for which have piqued my interest. I have come to the conclusion that the types of movies that are destined to become box office hits reflect political/societal phenomena and the attempts to resurrect old standards that worked well before. 2015 will be no different.

Political/Social Phenomena

Boyhood - Official still

2014 saw film hits like Boyhood, a poignant story, to be certain, but also a treatment of divorce and children of divorce. Then there was Gone Girl, a thriller, of course, but still addressing the issue of marriage and relationships gone wrong.
2015 may not treat divorce and relationships as much as it may return to political and social phenomena from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Consider Unbroken, a story that will take us back to World War II and the theme of the indomitable human spirit. Another opener for 2015, The Sniper, will treat the horrors of contemporary warfare and its devastating impact on the human spirit.

12/01/2015

BOOK BLAST - HOW I FALL & HOW I FLY BY ANNE ELIOT + GIVEAWAY

How I fly
A two-book series by the bestselling author of Almost and Unmaking Hunter Kennedy. How I Fall by Anne Eliot 


 *WHAT IF YOU HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE CRUSH?* Impossible because she’s Ellen Foster. The beautiful, smart, and possibly fragile photography-girl. You’re Cam Campbell. The guy who plays football 24/7 with no life. But what if during junior year, you decide to finally try for her phone number—until this glitter-crazed new girl ruins your plan. Worse, the girl is Irish, awkward, and insists you and Ellen should become best friends—with her! Only, you don’t want to be friends with a human tornado, and you think Ellen might need to stay a crush. This is because after one interaction you’ve discovered Ellen Foster really is fragile. Your problems and secrets are too big for anyone to understand. 

 *WHAT IF YOU COULDN’T RESIST?* But what if the three of you wind up assigned to a group photography project, where rumors are already circling about the new girl being ridiculous? You know she’s nice but very alone, so you convince your crush to help protect the new girl. Suddenly, working on the project makes hanging out, texting, talking—and even high school—seem fun and completely normal when it’s anything but normal. 

07/01/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - MID CENTURY MAYHEM BY BELLA STREET

Mid Century Mayhem New CoverMid Century Mayhem by Bella Street

 Modern day Nashville and 1950s Detroit clash worse than an IKEA futon and a plaid Barcalounger when a free-spirited interior designer and a strait-laced automotive engineer find themselves in another time. TOMS-wearing Olivia Haugen and Madras-shirted Kyle Daniels have no idea why they've ended up in 1954 Michigan, but it's probably not because of all the swank mid-century furnishings. Discovering the reason might have something to do with a wily salvage warehouse owner and her not-so-little shop of secrets.


Praise for the book: "Wow this book just drew me right into it from the start."--Diana K. "Loved it. Details of the past were so real, you felt you were there!" --Amy B.

"This book was amazing. It was funny, harrowing, nerve-racking, and just plain awesome!!!" --Tiffany T.

  add to goodreads


05/01/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THIRTY-THREE GOING ON GIRLFRIEND

Thirty Three going on girlfriendThirty-Three Going on Girlfriend

***The highly anticipated sequel to Becky Monson's bestseller - Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!*** 

Julia Dorning thought she would die a lonely spinster. That was until nine months ago, when her world was turned upside down. Now she’s got a dream career as a bakery owner, and a relationship with handsome Jared Moody—a life she never thought possible. Just as she’s starting to feel comfortable in her new life, Julia is invited to battle it out on national television making cupcakes. An amazing opportunity, if she can muster up the confidence to do it, that is. Then, out of the blue, Jared goes and throws a rather large wrench in their relationship causing Julia to have to make some big decisions. With her two trusted confidants off in wedding la la land, Julia is on her own to figure everything out. Left to her own devices, will Julia be able to work things out for herself? Or will she make a disaster of it all? Find out in Becky Monson’s sequel to Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!


Praise
"After reading the first book, I have been waiting impatiently for this one. I was not disappointed. I laughed so hard, it was a fun read that left me with a good feeling." -Amazon Reader

 "Get ready for another crazy ride with Julia Dorning. This sequel not only lives up to expectations of the first, but surpasses it!" - Author Kathryn Biel

31/12/2014

BEST OF 2014: PLAYS, ACTORS, BOOKS, TRIPS AND MUCH MORE (PART II)

Best  Play


The Crucible - I was just sitting there, on the left, behind the girls ...

I've been to the theatre a few times this year (HERE,  HERE and HERE ) but, no doubt: The Crucible. seen at the Old Vic in London twice at the end of June, beginning of July. It was great not only because I could make a dream of mine come true - which was seeing Richard Armitage on stage - but because the thrill I experienced in the audience will always stay with me as one of the dearest, most exciting memories of my entire life. Here's my report of that incredible experience with pictures and anecdotes. 


30/12/2014

BEST OF 2014: DRAMA SERIES & MOVIES (PART I)


A list of  "2014 Best... "  but  where to start from? I love so many things - which you already know if you have had a look at my blog any time before! Books? Movies? TV drama series? British actors? English Literature? Teaching? Blogging? Travelling to the UK? I'll do my best to be direct and concise and I'll divide my list of "best" into more than one post, ok? Let's start with Drama Series and Movies. 

Best Drama Series


Outlander (Starz)





I can't deny it:  this is my new passionate interest (obsession?)  Reading Diana Gabaldon's book series (I'm on book 4 now), watching the series, learning bits of Gaelic, dreaming of Scotland, following the cast and writers on twitter ... my 2014 has been filled with Outlander emotions.