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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Giver: A Guest Post by Elizabeth Eckhart

I am very excited to welcome Elizabeth Eckhart back to A Bookish Affair. Today, she is talking about one of my childhood favorites, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, which is getting ready to be turned into a movie.

The journey from the page to the big screen is always a challenging one for all parties involved. Authors, if they actually want their book turned into a film, are often terrified their masterpieces will be entirely butchered by people who aren’t able to see or understand their vision for the work. Filmmakers, on the other hand, have their own fears; for instance, the book might not translate well into a screenplay, and thus, not result in a great movie. However, most of these pre-production issues are resolved fairly quickly with creative efforts from both parties.

However, this was not true for The Giver, Lois Lowry’s 1993 YA novel about a dystopian society where no one feels pain, suffering, or despair as an exchange for blind devotion to the government. The journey for her beloved book, from first being selected for film to the theaters, took over 20 years, quite a long time even for Hollywood’s standards.

Of course, film adaptations of YA books are commonplace these days - The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight, Divergent, and more are all extremely successful adaptations (if you’re interested in watching them, they’re all available through most online streaming services; check your cable provider’s website). Despite the years of success for these YA films, Lowry’s book rights have been bouncing from one production company to another since Bill Cosby first purchased them in 1994. The author herself thought it would never happen, telling Entertainment Weekly back in 2012, “The film rights have been out there for 15 years now, and every now and then, some big studio gets involved, and some major player gets involved. And then time passes, and it all collapses again.”

However, this time it was different, since Jeff Bridges became fully committed to the film (for which he had bought the rights to back in the 90’s). He cast himself as the titular character while bringing in other stars like Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and, surprisingly, Taylor Swift to play the mysterious Rosemary. The role of Jonas, the protagonist, will be played by Australian actor Brenton Thwaites. Despite having found fame on various television series back home, he’s a relatively unknown actor stateside.

While not much is known about the film at this point, a trailer was released recently in March, which gives us some clues as to what the final product will look like. One thing that’s obvious right off the bat is that the filmmakers have chosen to make the characters much older than they’re described in the book; while Jonas is only 12 in the book, Brenton Thwaites is twice that at 24 - a casting decision that has (predictably) already drawn some ire from the book’s fans. I also caught a glimpse of some spaceships in the trailer that I don’t recall reading about...but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what that’s all about!

The film isn’t set to hit theaters until August 15th, which will give all of us plenty of time to re-read the book this summer before we watch the story told in theaters. There’s no word on whether the rest of the books in Lowry’s The Quartet series will be turned into films at this point. I would expect to hear news on that following the box office reports from The Giver, which means if you want to see them all transformed for the big screen, you should definitely show your support for the first!

 About the author:

Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment and film blogger for, who finds nothing more compelling than a good story, no matter its medium.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HFVBT Review and Giveaway: Inscription by H.H. Miller

Title: Inscription
Author: H.H. Miller
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: January 2014
Source: HFVBT

What's the Story?:

From "The year is 1851 and the Grand Guard is ravaging Mainland. Arrests. Floggings. Swift executions. Twenty-year-old Caris McKay, the beautiful heiress of Oakside Manor, is sent to live with distant relations until the danger has passed. It's no refuge, however, as Lady Granville and her scheming son plot to get their hands on Caris's inheritance with treachery and deceit.

Soon, alarming news arrives that the ruthless Captain James Maldoro has seized Oakside and imprisoned Caris's beloved uncle. And now he's after her.

Caris escapes with the help of Tom Granville, the enigmatic silver-eyed heir of Thornbridge. But when a cryptic note about a hidden fortune launches them on a perilous journey across Mainland, Caris and Tom must rely on wits, courage, and their growing love for each other if they hope to survive.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance, Inscription will transport you to a historically fictional world you'll never want to leave."

My Two Cents:

"Inscription" is a historical fiction tale of love and family. Caris lives with her bachelor uncle and then is whisked away to a remote small town where her uncle hopes that she will be safe. It just means that she is at risk with new issues as there are many scheming to get there hands on her inheritance. A love affair between Caris and the man who saves her in many ways also plays at the center of this book. This is a fast read and will appeal to those that are looking for a little bit of romance with their historical fiction.

This book is very much character driven, which I enjoyed but I wish that we would have gotten a little more insight into the setting and why the fighting was occurring the way that it was. We just really know that it's going on and that it is affecting Caris and her uncle's way of life. The setting is very much background and was a little fuzzy for me. That being said, I really enjoyed reading about the characters in this book. I especially enjoyed reading about Caris, the main character. She was a very interesting heroine for the time period in the book. Her uncle almost treats her more like a son and really raised her to stand on her own two feet. She has education like a son would have and is privy to a lot of things that only men of the time would have been able to be involved in, which I really liked reading about. I liked reading about how she was able to do that in a world where women were still supposed to be delicate little flowers.

I liked the writing of this book overall. I thought that the characters were well written (I really, really liked Tom and Caris). Some of the dialogue was a little shaky at first but really evened out by Part II of the book. I really loved the adventure and romance aspects of the book! This was definitely an entertaining read!


Want to win a copy of this book? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. and Canada only)! Can't wait? "Inscription" is a Kindle Countdown Deal.  Price started low on Monday (April 14) and increases each day until Friday (April 18). Get it today before the price goes back up!

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Follow the Rest of the Tour:
Monday, April 14
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, April 15
Interview at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, April 16
Review & Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, April 17
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Giveaway on Passages to the Past
Friday, April 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: My Cup of Tea: Summer of Love by Kat Lieu

Title: My Cup of Tea: Summer of Love
Author: Kat Lieu
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Nummyz Production
Publish Date: January 2014
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "It’s another suck-tastic summer for book nerd and baker, Sara Lee-Affen. She’s broke, she’s single, and she’ll probably die a virgin. At her beautiful cousin’s wedding, Sara meets a sexy and delicious stud muffin, Ian Forrests. He’s totally her cup of tea, that is until he laughs at her misery when a bee burrows into her ear. Yes, a dang bee. She’s dying (well not really) as he’s dying from laughter.

What a jerk. A smoking hot, Adonis of a jerk with strikingly green eyes, dark hair, and drool-worthy pecs and eight-pack abs. As luck and fate would have it, Sara keeps bumping into Ian all summer long and ends up working for him as a pastry chef at his failing bakery. Despite her better judgment, Sara falls for the sexy, badass rich boy. She discovers the truth about Ian: he’s a tortured soul who’s still pining for his deceased girlfriend, Sarah. One look at Sarah’s picture and poor Sara knows that she could never compete. She could never be Ian’s cup of tea.

Or could she?"

My Two Cents:

"My Cup of Tea: Summer of Love" is a novella that walks a fine line between Young Adult and New Adult. Sara's summer is changed when she meets Ian at a family wedding. She falls for him quickly but he seems less interested in her and more interested in poking fun at her. After another  chance meeting, they hit it off and Sara begins working in Ian's bakery. One problem, the bakery belonged to Ian's girlfriend, who passed away and who happens to be named Sarah. This novella ended up being a good read (with a cliffhanger of an ending that had me wanting more).

Overall, I really liked this story. I loved watching the relationship unfold between Sara and Ian. Sara is ready to fall for Ian even if he isn't ready to fall for him. Ian fights it as long as he can because he is still not over Sarah. I thought that the aspect of the book was really interesting. I loved reading about how Ian grappled with his feelings for Sara and Sarah and how they differed.

This book started out a little shaky for me but really hit its stride as the story unfolded. By the end, I was very sorry that this book was only a novella. The book ends in a heck of a cliffhanger that has me wanting more and it looks like I will have to wait until this summer to read the next installation, sadly. This book would be a good pick for when you're looking for a light read to get lost in!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

Title: The Venetian Bargain
Author: Marina Fiorato
Format: ARC
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: April 8, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You love intrigue.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
 What's the Story?:

From "Venice, 1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague—and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.

But the ship also holds a secret stowaway—Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan’s concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.

In despair, the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career—an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio’s life is in danger too, and it will require all the skills of Annibale Cason, the city’s finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. What Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio’s protection—an impossible woman whose medical skills and determination are matched only by his own."

My Two Cents:

"The Venetian Bargain" is a fascinating story of Constantinople and Venice. Feyra is a doctor who comes to Venice from her home in the Ottoman Empire to discover the answer to a mystery that she was told right before a loved one passed away. Feyra doesn't know what awaits her in Venice and she goes to the brand new city with a lot of trepidation. This book has a little bit of something for everyone.

I love visiting some place new through my reading and this book gave me an opportunity to visit the gorgeous city of Venice. Unfortunately, the city is dealing with the Bubonic Plague but that only makes for a more fascinating story. You really get a good sense of the city through Feyra's eyes as she unravels the mystery that was given to her. We get to see her dealings with some of the highest houses in the city. She was such a fantastic character.

One of the details that I absolutely loved was the medical aspect of the book. Feyra is well practiced in the way of medicine and she meets another doctor, Annibale Cason, who is working hard to treat those with Bubonic Plague. I think medicine is really interesting to read about in general but I especially like reading about how people used to be treated prior to the advent modern medicine. It is just so interesting to me! Fiorato loads this book with a lot of really great detail but the detail surrounding Feyra and Annibale's practice was really fantastic to me!

I know that this book is definitely going to be a future re-read for me!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Giveaway: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Prize Pack

So last week I told you all about my experience watching "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" via Google Play and loving it. This week, I'm very excited to be able to give you a chance to win a prize pack with the Blu Ray, a book of James Thurber's short stories, and a Walter Mitty tumbler.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below if you want to win (U.S. Only)!

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Review: Her Last Assassin by Victoria Lamb

Title: Her Last Assassin
Author: Victoria Lamb
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: February 27, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "Lady-in-waiting Lucy Morgan is once again torn between her dangerous attraction to William Shakespeare and her loyalty to Queen Elizabeth I.

England is facing its gravest threat yet. The Spanish have declared war, and Elizabeth finds herself attacked by sea - and by Catholic conspiracy from within her own court. Master Goodluck goes undercover, tasked with discovering the identity of this secret assassin, leaving his ward Lucy not knowing if the spy is alive or dead.

Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth is growing old in a court of troublesome young noblemen, while Lucy is struggling to love a man whose duties lie elsewhere.

When the final challenge comes, these two women must be ready to face it. But there is one last surprise in store for both of them."

My Two Cents:

"Her Last Assassin" is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the time of Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare. It is the third book in the Lucy Morgan series but this book can most definitely be read on its own as a standalone novel. I thought that Lamb did a really good job of giving those that are new to the series a little bit of detail so that we could gain some insight into where the characters have been and who they are.

In this book, Lucy Morgan walks many lines. She is a lady-in-waiting to the very powerful Queen Elizabeth. She is also in love with the famous playwright, William Shakespeare but his heart may belong to another (or two). Lucy has to make a lot of decisions in this book in order to "stay afloat" in the world that she is living in. I really enjoyed reading about her and liked how the author was able to weave non-fiction and fiction together. I did want to understand a little bit more about what she does in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were a couple lulls in the book but overall, it had pretty good pacing. I would definitely like to read the first two books in this series!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment: Paris 1785 by James C. Thompson

Title: Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment: Paris 1785
Author: James C. Thompson
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Commonwealth Books
Publish Date: February 18, 2014
Source: I received a copy from PR; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "As portrayed in this colorful book, Thomas Jefferson is not quite the monument that readers learn about in school. In a new kind of nonfiction narrative, Jefferson's transformation from frontiersman and political loner into cosmopolitan political leader is taught by submerging the reader in the things that Jefferson did and saw on his travels to Paris in 1785. Featuring 168 museum-quality reproductions of period maps, Parisian scenes, and portraits of the lumieres who welcomed the untraveled American into the salons of prerevolutionary Paris, readers accompany Pierre Cabanis and his aspiring protégé to public gardens, the theatre, salons, the grain exchange, and along the bustling, stinking thoroughfares of the French capital. They accompany Jefferson as he settles into the most elegant and debauched society in the world. Because they are with Jefferson as Cabanis instructs him on the French concept of Progress, they understand how Jefferson became its agent and how his new vision of himself and his role in the world prepared the Father of the Enlightenment in America for the political contest he entered when he returned home."

My Two Cents:

According to my calendar, today just happens to be Thomas Jefferson's birthday so it's fortunate that I'm writing this review today. Thomas Jefferson is one of my favorite Presidents to read about. He had such an absolutely fascinating life and I really appreciated the ability to see a different side of him through this book. This particular book focuses on Jefferson's time in Paris, which is a time period that really influenced his way of thinking.

This book is full of great history and fascinating pictures. This book makes for really accessible history for both those that read a lot of history and those that do not. While this book will probably appeal most to history lovers but those that just want to casually learn a little bit about Jefferson will appreciate this book as well. 

I really like when you can learn something new about a favorite subject. This book definitely fill that bill for me! You get to see what Jefferson saw in the great city of Paris from his point of view. We get to learn about how the city and his experiences there affected his very philosophy. It was so interesting to see what a big difference this time period had in his life. There is so much information and different things in this book that it sometimes verges on information overload but overall, it is a very good history. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

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