On the film version of Water for Elephants

Last Wednesday my friend invited me to the movies to see Water for Elephants. I don’t go to the movies that often. I think the last movie I saw in the theater was Alice in Wonderland. How long has that been? For me, Water for Elephants was definitely worth a biannual trip to the theater. My friend and I both read and loved the book, and we were wondering if the movie could possibly live up to our expectations.

We were not disappointed. It’s been a few years since I’ve read the novel, but from what I can remember, the film script seemed to follow Gruen’s story fairly closely. Less time was spent with the elder Jacob and less emphasis was placed on aging and the institutional life in nursing homes. However, the movie was already two hours long, so inevitably some scenes had to be cut.

I liked that the filmmakers focused on the themes of power and illusion in this story. The circus must have been so magical in an age without CGI and the internet. Behind the illusions there were undoubtedly driven, misguided and abusive men like August.

I guess some critics dislike Robert Pattinson in the role of the protagonist Jacob. I’ll admit that I think Robert Pattison is cute though I’m not madly in love like some! (My husband thinks his face looks like a foot.) Still, when I heard that he was cast as Jacob, I wasn’t sure he fit my mental image of the character. Halfway through the movie, however, I decided he was a decent choice.

And of course I loved Rosie!

For what it’s worth, this girl who rarely gets around to watching movies recommends Water for Elephants. 

Favorite Novels Set in Ireland

There are so many good novels set in Ireland or written by Irish authors! Of course, I love all of the Irish faerie lore, the tales of the Sidhe and Tuatha De Danaan. I’m one of many writers whose work derives from these old stories.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I’m making a list of some of my favorite Irish novels:

1. The Sevenwaters Series but Juliet Marillier. These historical fantasy stories mainly take place in ancient Ireland. This is one of my favorite series ever!

2. The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey. I read this debut novel sometime last year, and I look forward to more from this author! The Yellow House depicts the politics in Northern Ireland during the early 20th century. The protagonist, Eileen O’Neill, is very likable, and I’ll admit that this is one of those novels that made me shed a few tears. An aside: I’m sure many of you already know this, but this novel taught me that St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious holiday when people abstained from alcohol instead celebrating by having a pint…or a dozen!

3. The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling. This is a contemporary faerie story that revisits the old myths in a captivating, frightening and sometimes humorous manner.

4. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Love the story; love the author. Wilde had his flaws, but who can compete with his witticisms ? I don’t think he was the most patriotic individual though, claiming, “”Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”

What are your favorite Irish reads?

Follow Friday 2.25.11

Follow Friday is a weekly hop hosted at Parajunkee’s View. Visit to find new reads and book bloggers!

This week: Share your current fav television show! Tell us a bit about it…

My answer: The “current” part makes me smile. I am not current at all when it comes to TV shows. I don’t even have cable. I use Netflix streaming to watch shows that are past their prime.

I’ve been watching the second season of Veronica Mars, originally aired in 2005. Veronica Mars is the teen daughter of a private investigator that also solves mysteries in Neptune, a rich and corrupt California city. After the death of her best friend, Veronica is alternately shunned and tormented by the popular kids. However, she doesn’t sit back take the abuse; she fights back with her wits. What I really like about this show is that the characters aren’t predictable. A rotten character can surprise us with a good deed or a favorite can do something despicable. I’m three episodes away from the wrap up of the overarching mystery of season two.

I’m also a fan of The Office, but I liked the earlier seasons better than the more recent ones. And how will the show go on without Steve Carell?

My friends have been recommending Dexter, so I’ll try to watch that soon. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to blood and gore, but they assure me that I can handle it. We’ll see!

Teaser Tuesdays 2.22.11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser: “Suddenly chilled, she went to the window and unlatched it, letting the casement swing open, curling herself up in a miserable huddle on the cushions of the window seat. If he loved her, how could he do this to her?” (pg. 151, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher)

On Green Angel and Green Witch

I’ve never read Alice Hoffman before. I picked up her YA novella Green Angel lured by the physical beauty of the book. My library owns a small hardcover copy that is just so pretty.

I was not disappointed by her writing. Hoffman’s prose is lyrical, reminding me at first of Robin Mckinley’s Chalice, later of Franscesca Lia Block with less sex and drugs.

Green Angel is a fairytale about a girl named Green who loses her entire family to a fire that burned the city they visited without her. Green struggles with her grief, isolating herself, renaming herself “Ash,” and tattooing every inch of her skin. Eventually, she begins to heal by healing others, discovering love and her own magic. Green Angel explores the power of naming, the unlikely friendships that form after tragedy, and how grief shapes identity.

I liked the sequel, Green Witch, better than Green Angel, though I would recommend reading both.  Green Witch continues the fairytale. Green lives in a cottage with a magical garden that she wills to prosper. She also gathers stories from the villagers, writing them down on special paper that she creates to suit each story. (To the baker’s story she adds cinammon, to another she adds ashes and salt).

One day, Green discovers the true identity of the Finder, a tinker that provides the villagers with mechanisms. He asks her to find his sister, and Green decides to look for her and the boy that she loved and lost.

For guidance, she seeks out The Enchanted, women labeled witches by the villagers. The novella is divided into sections about each of these witches: The Sky Witch, The Rose Witch and The River Witch. Green records their sad stories, and they reward her with items to help her on her quest.

I think that you have to love fairytales to enjoy Green Angel and Green Witch. I do. I’ve read a few reviews by readers that didn’t care for some of the descriptions. Some people don’t want to read about transforming ink or magical stones.  For a fairytale lover, however, these books were a find.

A quote I’ll keep: “When you are the sole survivor of anything, do you have the right to be alive? Is the future a betrayal of everyone you ever loved and lost, or is it a way to praise them” (pgs. 88-89).

An aside: The dark force in this book is called “The Horde.” I couldn’t help but think of She-ra! I loved that show. Yeah, I’m a product of the 80s.

Book Blogger Hop 2.18-2.21

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted weekly at Crazy-for-Books. Join to meet fellow book lovers and discover new reads.

This week’s question: “What book(s) would you like to see turned into a movie?”

Sometimes I get nervous when a book I like is made into a movie. I’m afraid of being disappointed. Right now, I’m anticipating The Hunger Games movie, hoping the movie version isn’t vastly different from the book.

 I think Bloody Jack would make an awesome adventure movie. Is there an actress who could play the pirate girl Jacky Faber? I’m not sure.

 Also, I think Cherie Priest’s novel Boneshaker could easily be turned into a movie. It’s a steampunk zombie novel, filled with action and terse dialogue. The sets could be amazing!

Writing On Wednesday 2.16.11

Writing on Wednesday is a weekly meme created at Bookish Ardour. Visit to join the conversation with other writers.

This week’s question:

Writing Stereotypes: Have you been subjected to them? What do you find are the most common you’ve been subjected to and what ones have you heard of?

One of the most common stereotypes about writers is that writers are reclusive, hidden away in a garrets, scribbling by candlelight. I sort of wish I had a desk in a garret some days! I can be reclusive, but time alone is a luxury for me. These days, many writers do a lot of networking and presenting. The writer in the garret is an image from the past.

Here are some other stereotypes about writers and writing that I’ve encountered:

  • Writers are spelling wizards. I’m not a terrible speller, but I make good use of spell check. I’m spoiled by modern technology.
  • If you aren’t published by Random House, you self-published. There are many smaller presses out there that publish and pay authors for their work.  These presses are more likely to publish a first time author. My first novel was published by a smaller company in Florida.
  • We write because we are tortured. Well, I don’t think that I am quite right in the head, but outwardly I live a fairly normal life. Writing is very cathartic.