Monday, June 27, 2011

Review of "The Harlot" By Saskia Walker

My book review today is "The Harlot" by Saskia Walker. The story is a historical erotic romance with paranormal elements. Below is Harlequin's description of the book:

It is a dark era, one when a lusty lass will do what she must to survive. Even if it means bartering flesh for a palmful of coins…
Forced to watch her mother burn at the stake, Jessie Taskill knows the danger of the gift she inherited—a powerful magic that must stay hidden. Until one night when she’s accused of witchcraft and Jessie finds herself behind prison walls, awaiting certain death with a roguish priest unlike any man of the cloth she has known.

In reality, Gregor Ramsay is as far from holy as the devil himself, but his promise of freedom in return for her services may be her salvation. Locked into a dubious agreement, Jessie resents his plan to have her seduce and ruin his lifelong enemy. But toying with Gregor’s own lust for her is enjoyable, and she agrees to be his pawn while secretly intending to use him just as he is using her…
I will be the first to say that this is not my typical read. Then I read the first couple of pages. The story of Jessie and Gregor is very well written. Saskia Walker should be commended for creating characters that a reader can actually root for.
Jessie is an intelligent and resourceful woman which I find refreshing in a publishing enviroment of heroines that are TSTL (to stupid to live). Gregor, all I can say is...sigh.He is a dark tortured hero that is easy for the reader to fall in love with. As Ms. Walker slowly reveals to Jessie and us, Gregor's most intimate of secrets, you can actually see two people against their will falling in love.
The sexual scenes are graphic as would be expected of an erotic romance. They are scorching hot!  
My overall rating for "The Harlot" is 5 out of 5 Stars.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How I'm Going to Rate My Reviews...

I'm going to be reviewing some new and different types of books. So I'm guessing that I will have to come up with some idea on how I should do it. If anyone has any suggestions, please I beg of you LET ME KNOW. :)

This much I do know....I'm only going to promote books that I enjoy. There are so many reviewers out there that like to tear a writer done and I refuse to become one of their number. Writing is such an intimate and soul wretching endeavor and I would hate to think I discouraged anyone with cutting remarks that benefit no one. A book that has reached a reviewer/blogger has already been written, accepted for publication, most likely went through the final edits and is waiting to be read. If a book is unappealing word will leak out. That's just a fact.

What I want to show is books that may fall through the cracks. The books that are well written and most of all enjoyable! So I guess here goes. After a brief description and review I will give out stars:

3 Stars - Fun
4 Stars - Fun, Great Story (or characters)
5 Stars - Excellent addition the genre

So let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We Call That A Thought...

When people find out that I'm a writer/screenwriter/filmmaker I often hear "I've got the story for your next book." I always listen. Most times it's a boring story that only appeals to the person it happened too. But I repeat, I always listen. You never know what you might be able to mine into story gold.

As a youngster I believed that each and every idea I had was the most unique thing the world had ever seen. That train of thought lasted through my early twenties. My writing partner and I had been writing pretty much nonstop on a beloved project, You're the Reason. One of the lead characters, Elise, was suffering from sexual abuse perpertrated by her father Miles. Miles was a highly regarded attorney with ties to the community. From the outside it seemed as if the Donovans had the picture perfect family. The story we told was about as out there as you would think was possible. Rape, incest, unwanted pregnancy, etc. we threw everything we had at it to make the story stand out. I was convinced we had done it. Then I turned on my television.

There was a story on the news that could have been torn right from the pages of You're the Reason. I couldn't believe it. I went to work a bit down that day. I shared what happened with a coworker. I will never forget what she told me. Lynn said, "Missy any story you can imagine is happening to atleast one person in the world."

I have taken those words to heart and learned that's what makes people flock to books and movies alike. They are searching for their stories and ultimately for themselves...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jane Green's Jemima J

As stated before I am a big reader. I love all kinds of books. I know that I should say that I love literary high brow novels, but I don't. Never have, probably never will. That said the books that I do like are well written and usually have a romance involved. I will be reviewing a few new books over the next few weeks, but for today I am going to talk about an old favorite.

Chick Lit was relatively new when I discovered Jane Green's Jemima J.It was by far one of the best books I've ever read. Jemima was a fat girl who was desperate for the life and love that's been promised to us almost from birth. We are sold on Prince Charming as little girls and often settle for a frog or two (or twenty) when the dream fades. In fact Jemima's story is very much in the vein of Cinderella, even down to the two ugly stepsisters (her flat mates), a fairy godmother (Geraldine) and lets not forget our Prince Ben (yum!).

Jemima wants to work for a glossy magazine instead of a local paper. She wants to be rid of her flat mates, she wants a mother who doesn't harp about her weight. Most of all though, she wants to be thin. Jemima links her happiness with being thin. She's drank the kool aid that thin people are happy. When she discover the internet and the hot Brad, Jemima sells herself as the woman she wants to be. She didn't plan on meeting Brad. It was harmless, right?

The relationship with Brad grows as Jemima begins her transformation. She starts working out and eating right and the weight begins to come off. Jemima is aware of her weight loss but like with many of us big girls who lose weight, once a fat girl always a fat girl. You have to change your mindset. If you don't change your thinking you will never change your life.

Jemima, with the help of Geraldine, makes a big splash when she visits Brad in L.A. He is everything he said he was. Tall, blond, handsome and owner of fitness gym. Jemima is willing to overlook the fact that he's not an intellectual because he looks like a god and is great in bed. It takes some time for her to realize that maybe the relationship is not working as she had hoped. Brad spends little time with her and his assistant hates Jemima. She's living with a man she barely knows in a strange country with no friends. She thinks of home and misses Ben.

Ben had been her crush. The two had been work friends until Ben went of in search of greener pastures and a career as a presenter. Ben is a great character and it's easy to see why Jemima fell so hard for him. I admit that I fell for him a bit myself. These two characters grow so much throughout the book that you are rooting for them to find each other.

I don't want to give too much away, but there is a BIG secret about Brad that Jemima accidentally uncovers and sets her on a path of self discovery and into Ben's arms. I highly suggest this enjoyable read to anyone who has ever doubted themselves and is a big romantic (pun intended).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Broken...just a little Bruised.

I have been away from my blog for a few weeks now. I would love to tell you that I was off completing my great American novel or making the next Oscar winning film But to quote Jules, "We both now that s*** ain't true." What I have been doing is surviving. It's that plain and simple.

In November 2010 my dad had a liver transplant. I still remember the morning he got the call. He wasn't sure he wanted to do it. As we drove to the hospital he even said half jokingly "We should turn the car around." I told him to do that if it was truly what he desired. In that moment though, I wanted him to get the transplant. I thought that this was the way I got to keep him for another twenty years.

I won't go into too many detail but my dad 5 surgeries in the next three or so weeks (including another transplant). I was still trying to work 45 hours a week and when I wasn't at work I was usually at the hospital. I slept maybe four or five hours a night. My life revolved around my dad and his health. My phone was never out of sight and usually on my person. It was my life line to the most important man in my life. Or as my best friend Amy said, the love of my life.

On the morning of December 23rd I was sleeping when I received the call from my mom. She told me that they were in with my dad. I needed to get to the hospital. It was 6AM. I stumbled around in the dark, called my sister, and was in the car in less than 5 minutes. I live right outside of Louisville, KY. The hospital was a 40 minute drive on most days. It felt like hours that morning. I was less than ten minutes away when the phone rang again. It was mom again. She told me he was gone. I screamed No into the phone repeatedly. I had always made fun of such moment in films (i.e. Stars Wars). What I realize now is when you are told something that catastrophic you brain goes into instant denial. It couldn't be true.

I don't remember hanging up with my mom but I did. I called my uncle (mom's brother) and told him. It would be the beginning of many dreadful phone calls I would make that day. I really think that one of the worst things a person can do is have to inform someone that their sibling has passed. My dad had eight living siblings, it felt neverending. With each call I would have to break the news and then explain what little details we had at that moment. It was horrible.

Since dad died I struggle daily with missing him. I worry about my mother and sisters constantly. I'm working about 45 hours a week at a job that is demanding. So right now I am surviving. I refuse to say I'm broken...I'm just a little bruised.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Last of the Mohicans

While I was at my parents house this evening I stumbled upon my Dad's movie collection. I say my dad's because while my mother loves movies, she rarely sits through one. My dad was different though. He loved movies. Mostly it was standard movie going public films, read: No artsy fartsy indie films for him. He always told me "While movies can educate, they need to entertain".

One of his favorites was Last of the Mohicans. For years he would tell me that I would love this movie. I don't really recall now why I didn't want to watch it but I refused. A movie about a war between the English and French in the colonies? I didn't get it. He told me that there was a love story and I shrugged my teenage shoulders at it. Sounded like a old person's movie.

It wasn't until years later that my best friend Amy told me pretty much the same things my dad did. Again I balked but best friends have a way of saying, you're doing something whether you want to or not. Damn peer pressure. :)

I have to say they we're both right. I watched the movie and immediately fell in love with both Daniel Day Lewis' Hawkeye and  Eric Schweig's Uncas. They were different types of heroes cast from the tall, dark and handsome mode. Both were brave and trustworthy, deserving of the swoons of Cora and Alice (not to mention me). Yet Hawkeye had a world weariness that Uncas, at his young age, had not developed. Had the situation been reversed Hawkeye would have went up the mountside to save Cora but he he would have thought about it instead of relying on pure emotion. During those scenes this is demonstrated by the way Hawkeye attacks the enemy. It is clear he is two thoughts ahead at all times. Uncas' reacted the way our hearts want our hero. He went after Alice without thought. He went after her without care. He went after her because she needed him.

In such uncertain times and dubious real life "heroes" I wouldn't mind a Hawkeye or Uncas in my life...just saying...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gone With the Wind

I was introduced to "romance" novels when I was about seven or eight years old. My mother was cleaning house one night and I remember that I was bothering her with "Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Momma, Momma" every five seconds. as parents often do she took me to the babysitter (the T.V.). She turned the television on and told me to watch this old movie that was on. She said she said "You'll like it" and then went back to her cleaning. She was wrong about that movie. I didn't like it. I loved it.

The movie was Gone with the Wind starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. From the opening credits I was completely hooked. History has always been a passion of mine and put together with a love have me @ Rhett Butler. I watched that movie and gushed about it for days. My mom would just smile that "I told you so" smile.

The next summer my father took me and my little sister to the DMV at the local Government Center. While waiting as patiently as an eight and five year old can, my sister and I discovered that there was a library in the same building. We asked (read: begged) my dad to take us there. Surprisingly he agreed and off I went to heaven, a world full of books. I remembered that my mom had told me that Gone with the Wind was a book so I very grown up like asked the librarian for the book. I don't remember the look that she gave me but I can imagine but she got it for me. A thousand page book would stun most adults, me you ask? I was thrilled.

I did have one last hurtle to jump. When I asked my dad to check this book out for me he wasn't sure. He told me several times that I wouldn't understand all of it and that it was a thousand pages. I didn't care and evidently he did check it out for me. Again and Again. It took me the whole summer to read the book. I feel as it was fate. That was the only summer that we ever went to the library. I wouldn't go again until I was an adult.

Almost every year since then I read Gone With the Wind. It is my favorite book of all time. And my dad was right I didn't understand that book the first time I read it or even the second. In fact it took years for me to understand its social impact. What I did understand at eight and even more so now was the love story at the heart of it.