Saturday, May 30, 2009

Primeval 3.2


Last week's episode of Primeval was, in a word, excellent. The whole episode had a nice creepy tone, and unfolded in a slightly slower, more suspenseful way than we're used to seeing from the series. What you can't see is often scarier than what you can, ya know? The whole tone of the episode felt like something you'd see on Torchwood or Doctor Who (it really reminded me of the Who episode "Blink," from series 3). This is a very Abby/Connor (Hannah Spearritt & Andrew Lee Potts) centered episode, which I absolutely love - the two of them are so stinking cute together! Hopefully Abby will light a fire under Connor sooner rather than later. *sigh* And Connor is hilarious - Potts can strike just the right balance between sarcasm and dorky humor.

A new character is introduced this week - policeman Danny Quinn, played by Jason Flemyng. Quinn's character is given what is probably one of the best introductions in the series (so far, anyway). If we're supposed to buy into the conceit that anomalies have been appearing for years, it only makes sense that other people would have encountered them (prior to the whole government conspiracy thing). Quinn's brother was one of two kids who'd disappeared thirteen or so years earlier, in a house that just happens to be the location of an anomaly and inhabited by a gremlin-like creature that looks like Gollum on crack. He's immediately suspicous of the government's interest in the abandoned house, and makes life extremely difficult for Abby, Connor, and Jenny (Lucy Brown) - all of this results in a hilarious scene where he carts Connor off to jail. That was really funny!

Dr. Paige (Laila Rouass) and Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield) didn't have too terribly much to do this week, though both were much "looser" and more relaxed than previously seen in their introductory episode, which was nice. Becker is too hot to make me want him to disappear from the show any time soon, so I really want his character to get better developed. And I like Dr. Page - she's obviously brilliant, but not terribly serious as to be boring. She's still enjoying learning the ropes of her new job, methinks.

And finally, Helen (Juliet Aubrey) and her cloned doofus solider are back, and this time they're out to steal some of Cutter's (Douglas Henshall) DNA. I loathe Helen. Absolutely cannot STAND her. It's hard to believe that Aubrey's been able to pull off the creation of such a fantastic villain, considering her past "good girl" roles in shows like Middlemarch and Bertie and Elizabeth. It was awfully nice to see Becker get the drop on creepy cloned soldier though. Obviously Helen is looking to expand her cloning experiments...not knowing her evil master plan, though, is a bit maddening! And so frustrating that Cutter is so dense when it comes to Helen...I mean he was freaking married to her, you'd think he'd be able to guess her next move once in a blue moon. Men! *sigh* ;-) Definitely looking forward to tonight's episode which promises to be a game-changer!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek

Since I've now seen Star Trek twice, I suppose it's about time I blog about it. I love this movie. Let me go back a bit and explain exactly why that fact is so extraordinary. I have never, ever been able to STAND anything Trek-related. I'd go so far as to say I ventured into hatred and loathing a time or two - my aversion to all things Trekkie runs deep and true (and it's not for lack opportunity to see the movies or watch any one of the ten million television episodes readily available). Several of my friends are Trekkies, and even my dad enjoys the show (but just to qualify that, my dad'll watch just about anything...just sayin'...).

But when I heard about this new film and started to see the previews, I couldn't help but be intrigued. Since it was touted as a reboot of the franchise, I figured it would be a good starting point for me given how ignorant I am of the intricacies of Star Trek lore. I saw this movie opening day with a group of friends, most of whom weren't die hard fans of the franchise either, and we all loved it. As I later discussed with one of them on Facebook, we still can't stand "old Star Trek" but we're wild fans of "new Star Trek." Sort of a B.C. versus A.D.'s all changed now, people. Of course the biggest reason this movie works for me was because of how similar it felt to Star Wars: A New Hope, with Spock and Kirk echoing Luke and Han's journeys. These similarities are nicely encapsulated in this handy video:

(If the video doesn't work click on the link above.)

I had no idea that this movie would be a literal reboot of the franchise that would run parallel to the established stories thanks to the convenience of a time-space tunnel, blah, blah, blah. The first time I saw this film I was so incredibly mad when old Spock appeared and ground time to a halt in order to explain the screw-up in the space-time continuum. Now I don't have anything against rifts in the fabric of time as a general rule - I'm a huge fan of Primeval and Doctor Who, both shows that gleefully disregard any respect for the sanctity of time. However, the first time I saw Star Trek, the whole time thing felt like a massive cheat. Upon further thought, the fact that the time cheat thing ticked me off so much is really a tribute to the filmmakers and actors - I was so completely absorbed by the story that I didn't want them to have to "go there," grinding the action to a halt in order for old Spock to explain the time mess to new Kirk. Happily after a few weeks and a second viewing, I've come to terms with the whole time thing and I understand better why it needed to happen (i.e., Hollywood is going to give me a sequel with the yummy Chris Pine reprising his role as Kirk! YES!!).

Which brings me to the cast - I thought they were superb, and as an ensemble they all "clicked" and gelled really well on-screen. My passing familiarity with old, pre-awesome Star Trek (*grin*) gave me enough of a knowledge of the characters to appreciate everyone's new take on the classic roles. The standout of course would be Zachary Quinto as Spock. He had enough of Leonard Nimoy's presence and mannerisms, but he brought a little more humanity and relatability to the role IMO. Simon Pegg was genius casting as Montgomery Scott - the man stole ever scene he was in. Bruce Greenwod was fabulous as Captain Pike (seriously the older he gets the better looking he becomes - just had to throw that out there!). Karl Urban as Bones was a little weird to me. I mean I love me some Karl Urban, but his acting seemed so forced and fake in comparison to the other characters. However, I will own that my lack of familiarity with the original Bones probably has a lot to do with how I viewed Urban's take on the character (particularly since I've read in several places online that Urban's Bones is probably the most faithful incarnation of the original character in the entire new film). All that aside, Bones had some excellent buddy chemistry with Chris Pine, the guy who's taken the role owned by William Shatner and livened things up with a nice dose of Han Solo-like hotness. Of everyone in the cast I predict this movie will be the making of Chris Pine's career. He absolutely nailed the brilliant, devil-may-care hero type with attitude to spare. My second favorite character would be Chekov, played by Anton Yelchin. He is too stinking cute! LOL! Absolutely loved his scenes - they were so much fun! I could mention the other main players in the cast, but I'm tired, and frankly don't care enough.

A few other notes...the pacing of the movie, except for that section taking place on a planet eeriliy reminscent of Hoth (HA!!), was fantastic, never letting up. The fight scenes were fantastic to behold - all of the special effects were, as to be expected of course (but still, it's worth noting IMO), veritable feasts for the eyes. The camerawork was on occasion WAY to jerky and closeup for my tastes. I sort of think that must be due to J.J. Abrams television background. The guy has got to learn that it's okay to pull back on the big screen every once in a while (please, for the sake of my stomach...LOL!). I also enjoyed Michael Giacchino's score for the film (though Kaye tells me many of the passages are nearly identical to the man's work in Lost - however, since I don't watch that show, that's nothing for me to quibble about). There were some really well done moments that used a softer, more orchestral score instead of a more typical, bombastic action cue, adding to the emotional impact of the scene (the first scene that comes to mind is when George Kirk sacrificies himself for the crew and passengers of the U.S.S. Kelvin).

So, all that to say, if you STILL haven't seen this movie by some freakish chance, it's worth checking out. I'm a diehard anti-Trekkie, and I am really, REALLY looking forward to the sequel.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review: A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

A Passion Denied (The Daughters of Boston #3)
By: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell Books
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3213-4

About the book:

Has she fallen in love with a man who cannot love her back?

Elizabeth O’Connor has been like the little sister John Brady always wanted, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the reckless Roaring Twenties, Lizzie has grown up. Suddenly she wants more from the man who has been her friend since she was a child. When this shy bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving John, she discovers that his past won’t let him return that love. But Lizzie refuses to give up – until his shocking secrets push her away.

Can true love survive the betrayal and deceit of a painful past…or will it be shattered like the fairy-tale dreams of a girl in love?


For years Beth O’Connor has filled the role of ideal little sister in John Brady’s life, her girlish admiration and pure friendship a balm to his wounded soul. Their friendship grew over a mutual love of books and shared faith, and Brady has willingly filled the role of friend and mentor, until one day he blinks – and little Beth has transformed into Lizzie, a young woman determined to capture his heart. However, Brady has a past that’s left him convinced that love and marriage are not in his future – a past he’s determined to shelter from Lizzie. But Lizzie comes from stubborn O’Connor stock and won’t give up on her dream romance just because her hero says so. When the revelation of Brady’s past rocks her world and shatters her idealistic image of the man, Lizzie must decide whether or not she can fight for the man with a past. A Passion Denied proves that a love refined in the fires of God’s grace and redemption is a gift stronger than any schoolgirl’s fantasy, stronger than the condemning weight from the guilt of one’s past. God can redeem it all – if only one will allow it.

A Passion Denied grabbed me from the start and absolutely would not let go (and considering the novel clocks in at well over 400 pages, that’s saying something!). I can relate to Lizzie in so many ways – not only because of her love of reading and dreams of romance (not to mention the fact she works in a bookshop!), but the way in which those romantic flights of fancy informed her view of Brady and what makes a “perfect man.” Ladies, you know it’s true – we’re wired to respond to romance, but if we’re not careful, the fictions of the world can skew our perspective. A human placed on a pedestal must come crashing down by virtue of the fact of his or her human failings and imperfections – but when God redeems the broken and weak, the possibilities are endless. Not only does Lizzie have some growing up to do, but Brady must learn to forgive himself and accept God’s forgiveness. This expert balance of human passion, failings, and redemption is what elevates Lessman’s writing from “just another romance novel” to a gripping story that will leave you mulling over the characters and their choices long after you read the final pages.

Lessman doesn’t limit herself to only writing about “new” romance, a fact which I absolutely love. All of the characters from the first two volumes in the series are still writing their own love stories, and the continued glimpses into their lives only add to the depth of this novel. Lessman writes about marriages both relatively new and established, and proves, unlike a lot of fiction out there, that life isn’t magically perfect and the passion doesn’t end once boy gets girl and they walk down the aisle. In fact, Lessman proves more than ever that she’s a real “drama queen” when it comes to torturing her characters. She demonstrates through her characters’ lives that life doesn’t just end perfectly with the initial “happy ending” – there are still challenges to meet and growth that must be achieved, allowing love to grow deeper with time. And this is where Lessman confirms she’s not just a master of writing compelling, pulse-pounding romance - she’s a master at writing relationships. Just because her characters may be Christians doesn’t mean they’re infallible – far from it! But there’s a solid undergirding of biblical truth and precepts that’s always abundantly clear throughout her writing – when God is your rock and the lover of your soul, all things are possible.

I cannot believe we have to wait until summer 2010 for the next book, the start of a new trilogy that will tell the stories of the youngest O’Connors. Bravo, Ms. Lessman, for another beautifully told story that places passion in a Godly context!

*Note - I know I normally don't review titles in a series out of order, but I needed to meet a deadline. :-) Reviews of A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed will follow soon!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Review: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

By: Anne Osterlund
Publisher: Speak/Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-14-240579-6

About the book:

Aurelia, the crown princess of Tyralt, wants control over her own life. Robert, her former classmate, wants Aurelia. And someone wants her…dead. There have been several narrowly escaped attempts to assassinate the princess, but the king has no desire to incite panic by making the information public. Instead, Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy, is allowed into the inner circle to secretly investigate and watch over Aurelia. Robert is determined to help, if only Aurelia would let him! But the princess will not heed the danger around her, and she does not need Robert to save her. Just as their friendship begins to grow into something more, the threat on Aurelia’s life becomes paramount. With everything possible on the line – her life, her kingdom, her heart – Aurelia must take matters into her own hands, whatever the cost.


Aurelia, the independent and strong-willed crown princess of Tyralt, has always had trouble meeting the expectations placed on her because of her exalted station. She longs to know the common people of her country and to determine her own destiny – particularly resisting every attempt of her father to arrange a politically advantageous marriage. When her old classmate Robert, who happens to be the son of the king’s former spy, returns from frontier life, she has no idea that he’s come to investigate several attempts on her life. For his part, Robert has never been able to forget his former friend, and vows to do everything he can to protect her life. As the threat to Aurelia’s life grows, both Aurelia and Robert find themselves fighting a growing and unexpected attraction to each other. With her survival on the line, when faced with a choice between duty and freedom, which will Aurelia choose?

I admit it, I’m a complete sucker for a gorgeous book cover, and I was immediately curious about this novel when it popped up in my Amazon recommendations. I’m so glad I decided to check it out. Aurelia is a fun, fluffy, romantic piece of escapism – a very pleasant way to while away a few hours. The book is not without its problems – there are a few plot holes and jumps in the narrative that make the story seem unnecessarily rushed. Overall I was pretty pleased with Robert and Aurelia’s character and relationship development – I would say this story is very appropriate for young teens & up. I also have to give Osterlund credit for the reveal of the villain – it was a pleasantly unexpected twist to a story that was feeling familiar (but familiar in a nice, comfortable sort of way). I’m torn about the ending of the book – on the one hand I couldn’t stand it, because the lack of “proper” resolution was maddening. However, on the other hand I have to admire Osterlund’s gumption in refusing to wrap up her tale with some sort of neat, safe, fairy tale-like ending. This is a promising debut for Osterlund, and I look forward to reading more of her work and seeing her story-crafting abilities (hopefully) develop further.

Review: The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner

The Stone Rose
By: Jacqueline Rayner
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 978-0-563-48643-5

About the book:

Mickey is startled to find a statue of Rose in a museum – a statue that is 2,000 years old. The Doctor realizes that this means the TARDIS will shortly take them to ancient Rome, but when it does, he and Rose soon have more on their minds than sculpture.

While the Doctor searches for a missing boy, Rose befriends a girl who claims to know the future – a girl whose predictions are surprisingly accurate. But then the Doctor stumbles on the hideous truth behind the statue of Rose – and Rose herself learns that you have to be very careful what you wish for…


The Stone Rose is my second Doctor Who read by Jacqueline Rayner (following Winner Takes All featuring the ninth Doctor). Rayner takes the Doctor (as played by David Tennant) and Rose (Billie Piper) to ancient Rome following Mickey’s discovery that a statue of the goddess Fortuna, modeled after Rose, is on display in the British Museum. When the two arrive in Rome, they discover that a nobleman’s son has disappeared after modeling for an unlikely sculptor who’s all the rage for the lifelike quality in his works. Rose soon discovers that the sculptor’s talents stem from sinister motivations, and she and the Doctor are thrust into a time-bending, paradox-forming, high-stakes quest to save the sculptor’s victims, oh and the planet too while they’re at it. This novel was a nice change of pace setting-wise – I’ve always enjoyed the television show episodes that allow you to see the Doctor acting within the confines of a historical time period instead of an alien, distant future. For the most part, I enjoyed this story (though I think Winner is a better effort from Rayner) – the first half of the novel was well-constructed, but the second half falters a bit once the whole time paradox element comes into play. It felt like Rayner didn’t quite have the handle on that element of the story that would’ve been required to pull off the reader’s suspension of disbelief successfully. Character-wise, Rayner once again gives an excellent, entirely believable representation of Rose. For the most part I’m also quite pleased with her take on David Tennat’s Doctor, though he does become a bit overly melodramatic (particularly during the arena scene). The supporting cast is also solid, particularly Mickey and the new character, GENIE. It’s a bit unfortunate that Vanessa’s character, around whom so much of the latter half of the story hinges, feels as though it’s developed too little, too late. I’m quite pleased with Rayner’s ability to bring the Doctor and his companions to life, and I’ll definitely be reading more of her Who fiction in the future.

Jillian Dare by Melanie M. Jeschke

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Jillian Dare: A Novel

Revell (May 1, 2009)


Melanie M. Jeschke


Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wallander: One Step Behind

Spoiler alert...

I'm rather bummed this show has come to an end (for these season, anyway - crossing fingers & hoping more episodes are to come!), especially since it's gotten better with each successive installment. Here's the episode summary of One Step Behind from the Masterpiece Mystery website:

Swedish Inspector Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) is asleep at the wheel of his own life. Exhausted and starved for a nutritious meal, Wallander can hardly be relied on to change his shirt, much less stay awake. A trio of teenagers murdered on Midsummer's Eve shocks Wallander back to life, but it is the death of a colleague that sends him into a guilty spiral. Wallander's colleague got one step ahead in investigating the teen murders before his own death, and may have left a trail for Wallander, but can he focus hard enough to follow it? Adapted from the book by international bestseller Henning Mankell, One Step Behind forces Wallander into battle with a terrible set of crimes and his own demons.

I thought this episode was excellent. I now have a deep and abiding fear of killer transvestite Swedish policemen, which I'll probably need counseling or something to cope with.

This episode, more than any of the previous two installments, really smacks you in the face with how awful Wallander is at reading personal relationships. He might have these great insights into the minds of criminals, but when it comes to dealing with his daughter, or friendships at work, the guy is pretty hopeless. His personal habits, especially his eating habits, make me feel extraordinarily health-conscious, so I suppose that's good. LOL!

What was extraordinarily interesting for me in regards to this episode was Wallander's growing awareness of just how little he knows the people he sees everyday. It was downright painful to see his shock when Svedberg's (the murdered colleague, played by Tom Beard) cousin tells Kurt that he was described as Svedberg's best friend. This knowledge is the first step that really forces Wallander to take stock and face some of the shortcomings and disappointments in his own life and past. Everything then comes to a head when Wallander meets Isa (Flora Spencer-Longhurst), who was not only a potential target of the Midsummer's Eve murders, but she's also a powerful reminder of his daughter Linda (Jeany Spark), and how the fact that he was a "crap dad" almost drove her to suicide when she was a teen.

Kenneth Branagh positively shines in this episode. His acting is brilliant, running the gamut from raw, visceral, explosive emotion (I seriously thought he was going to have a heart attack at one point) to his hilarious reaction when a doctor tells him he has HONK (hyperosmolar non-ketotic acidosis) related to type 2 diabetes. Not that HONK is a laughing matter, but oh my gosh the way Branagh says it is soooo funny! And the stand-off at the end of this episode was brilliantly played. Very, very well done, not to mention riveting viewing.

Loved how this villain seemed so random, yet in a way he wasn' was all about who you actually see, wasn't it? All about who you pay attention to, what you deem important and worthwhile - and what can happen a psychopath feels invisible. I'm also very happy that Wallander's team is finally starting to get better developed, more recognizable as characters. I could be completely misreading things here, but I'd love to see Martinsson (Tom Hiddleston, pictured with Kenneth Branagh above) really start to develop as a character. Right now he comes off as equally in awe of and frustrated with Wallander - wants to learn from him, wants to be taken seriously, but isn't quite confident enough...?? If the end of tonight's ep is any indication there should be good things to come (at least I hope so...Linda needs a boyfriend...just sayin'!!!).

This was a FANTASTIC series. I didn't expect to get into this show at all, but it's really grown on me. Series 2 cannot come fast enough to suit me!!

Read my reviews of the first two shows in this series: Sidetracked and Firewall.

Preorder the Wallander series on DVD - it releases June 2nd!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Primeval 3.1


Quick thoughts on the first episode of the new season of Primeval before the second episode airs tonight. I know this can be a bit confusing because British shows are often commissioned for an odd number of episodes per season or series. While this is for all intents and purposes season two in the US, it's really series three (series one consisted of episodes 1-6, and series two episodes 7-13). So that's why there's a "3.1" in the title of this post.

ANYWAYS...I thought this was an extremely strong start to the new series. I absolutely loved it! This show has consistently gotten better and better with each successive episode. The mythology and the conspiracy factors introduced in episodes 7-13 last year really ratcheted up the intrigue and tension, making this a bit more than "just" a dinosaur adventure show. The show is actually really lucky in regard to how well all the pieces of the puzzle have worked as they've been introduced. I don't know how much of an overall "plan," if any, the show runners had from the beginning - either the brilliant pieces of the puzzle were already in place, or the showrunners are geniuses. Maybe both.

Series three picks up right where last year's fantastic cliffhanger left off - the team is still reeling from the aftershock of Stephen's (James Murray) death. I appreciate the fact that the team didn't just forget Stephen and automatically move on with their lives. Though to be quite frank I was ready for his character to die - he'd gotten way too stupid over Helen (Juliet Aubrey). Speaking of Helen, I still hate that chick. She has got to be one of the best villains to come along on television in ages. LOL!

This episode also introduces two new team members - hottie Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield) and Sarah Page (Laila Rouass), a smart and sassy Egyptologist (BTW, loved the action in the British Museum!). All of the other regular team members are back, including Cutter (Douglas Henshall), Connor (Andrew Lee Potts), Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Jenny (Lucy Brown), and my favorite, the acerbic Lester (Ben Miller). Lester had some of the best lines in the episode IMO. When he "cracks jokes" I was just rolling with his dry, dry sense of humor. I loved Connor's interaction with Sarah. Not only did she do an excellent job messing with his head (HA!), but he got to prove that he knows a thing or two about what he's talking about - even if his spastic, goofy personality makes him a bit hard to take seriously. Good work by Potts in this ep!

I loved the way this episode introduced the idea that the anomalies are somehow tied to ancient cultural landmarks (like the Egyptian sun cage) and traditions. It makes a lot of sense (as much as a show like this could make sense, HA!!). Myths = anomalies. Should be a lot of fun for the next nine weeks. I also loved the fact that Lester's got a few more headaches to deal with besides the fact that he can barely control the Cutter's team - the government apparently wants to interfere more in his work, as seen by the introduction of Christine (Belinda Stuart-Wilson). Christine's role in the conspiracy has me very intrigued - apparently Helen has some competition for power, artifacts, and a general megalomaniacal desire to control the world and alter the fate of mankind...nothing major. LOL!

I guess that's about Lester, really like the new team additions, still hate and loathe Helen, and I'm so freaking happy this show is back on the air. Remember, new episode airs TONIGHT!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Okay, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this...this movie still scares me just a little. But I do have a couple of observations to make:

1. Mark Strong is the villain!
2. Jude Law is Watson (WEIRD casting IMO, but the moment where Watson complains about Holmes being a slob was HILARIOUS).
3. Eddie Marsan is Inspector Lestrade! This is GENIUS! (In case you missed my previous blogs - LOL - Marsan was the fantastically quirky Pancks in Little Dorrit.)
4. Robert Downey Jr. just because he's RDJ (I still can't wrap my head around the fact that he's playing Holmes).
5. MARK STRONG IS IN THIS MOVIE (did I already mention that?)!!

Edit: Video removed from YouTube, post updated 8/18/11.

Just wondering...

...if there are any lurkers out there who've been reading this blog but aren't officially following it. *hint, hint* ;-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ulterior Motives by Mark Andrew Olsen

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ulterior Motive

Bethany House (March 1, 2009)


Mark Andrew Olsen


MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. Two of his last books were the supernatural thriller The Watchers, and The Warriors.

The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.


When an al-Qaeda email is intercepted, threatening an attack on America, it leads to the capture of the group's leader. Yet even under fierce interrogation, the terrorist clings to his jihadist beliefs and refuses to divulge any information. Desperate, the Army resorts to extreme measures--a controversial protocol designed to break a subject's resistance. But the attempt must be masked as an offer of clemency and rely on an outside party, someone who is unaware of the protocol's aims.

They find that someone in Greg Cahill, a disgraced soldier who now serves in a prison ministry. Lured by the chance to restore his reputation, Greg befriends a man the entire country despises. And the result proves combustible, the two men having to flee for their lives. With both in need of redemption, they set out to prevent a major catastrophe...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ulterior Motive, go HERE

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wallander: Firewall

Spoiler alert…

Firewall, last night’s episode of the Wallander mystery series, moved me from “really liking” the show to LOVING it. Simply put, Firewall is a spectacular episode and a terrific vehicle for Kenneth Branagh’s tortured hero. Love, love, loved this episode. Without further ado, here’s the episode summary from the Masterpiece website:

A taxi driver has been brutally stabbed as two teenage girls walk resolutely away, one holding a bloody knife. Inspector Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) questions Sonja Hokberg, the teen suspect, who replies nonchalantly, "None of this matters." Since when did murder not matter? Is Ystad, Sweden, on the verge of some sort of chaos? As multiple homicides stack up, Wallander realizes they may be the least of his problems. Adapted from the novel by bestselling author Henning Mankell, Firewall finds Wallander facing a gripping countdown to an impending disaster.

Last week’s episode, Sidetracked (read my thoughts on that episode here), did an excellent job of establishing Wallander’s character – scruffy, tortured, and intense. It also introduced his rather dysfunctional family life, and this week in particular delves a little deeper into his relationship with his daughter Linda (played by Jeany Spark). Linda and Kurt are on strained speaking terms at the best of times, apparently, but I love how Linda really refuses to give up on her dad. She wants the best for him, she wants him to have some happiness and balance in his life, and she gets (understandably) exasperated with Kurt’s reticence to comply with her wishes. So Linda signs Kurt up for an internet dating service (again, I have no problem with this, I just think it’s funny to watch and listen to such a “British” cast and then see them type e-mails in Swedish). Ella, played by Orla Brady, is introduced as a love interest for the socially challenged Kurt – but of course, she’s not all she seems – our tortured hero can’t get off that easily, now can he?

Regarding the mystery – I’ve got to say I was really quite impressed with the layers of the story and how they were interconnected, one layer upon the other, until a plot is revealed that’s capable of bringing down governments. I really, really liked the way this story was constructed. I found it deeper and more convoluted than last week’s episode, and I really loved the way Wallander’s attempt to resurrect some sort of personal life intersected with his professional life – even though the result was quite heart-breaking.

Which brings me back to the whole Kurt-Ella thing for a moment. I would’ve loved to have seen Ella become a returning character. Branagh and Brady had some wonderful on-screen chemistry. I simply adored the way Branagh allowed his expressions to loosen up a bit at the beginning of the episode, when he was first getting to know Ella. He really let the viewer see, without expressing it in so many words (who needs words when you have an actor as expressive as Branagh?) just how much this step of even trying for a relationship meant to Wallander. This was a huge sacrifice, a huge risk, and of course the result was crushing. However, I loved Ella’s apology to Kurt – that scene was beautifully, wrenchingly played. I suppose I can’t have my cake and eat it too – what’s a tortured hero with a happy love life, after all? But I’m glad Ella redeemed herself a bit in the end, and I’m thrilled that it led to what may be my favorite Kenneth Branagh film moment EVER – the awesome fight scene at the end of the episode. Who knew that Kenneth B. could kick such serious ass?! I loved it, that scene was actually quite thrilling.

Wallander has been wildly successful in restoring my Kenneth Branagh-love to its former glory. I cannot wait to see next week’s episode, One Step Behind – and I’ll be sorry to see this run of shows come to an end. I believe a second series of episodes is in the works, but I can’t find a link documenting that at the moment. Keeping my fingers crossed that my memory’s not playing tricks on me and that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Branagh as Wallander in the future.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review: Winner Takes All by Jacqueline Rayner

Winner Takes All
By: Jacqueline Rayner
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 0-563-48627-9

About the book:

Rose and the Doctor return to present-day Earth, and become intrigued by the latest craze – the video game Death to Mantodeans. Is it as harmless as it seems? And why are so many local people going on holiday and never returning?

Meanwhile, on another world, an alien war is raging. The Quevvils need to find new means of attacking the ruthless Mantodeans. Searching the galaxy for cunning, warlike but gullible allies, they find the ideal soldiers – on Earth.

Will Rose be able to save her family and friends from the alien threat? And can the Doctor play the game to the end – and win?


Winner Takes All is only my second Doctor Who read, and my first to feature the adventures of the ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Rose (Billie Piper). Rose convinces the Doctor to make a quick trip back to present-day Earth to visit her mother, Jackie, who’s just won a holiday in a sweepstakes competition. The Doctor, who has little patience for Rose’s family and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Mickey, soon suspects that this trip to Earth may not be wasted time after all. The newest videogame craze, Death to Mantodeans, is taking Rose’s neighborhood by storm, and when people start disappearing – including Jackie – the game turns out to be a very real, very alien threat to humans. Since Christopher Eccleston only brought his unique and unforgettable spin to the Doctor’s character for only one season, it’s nice to have additional adventures available that help flesh out his time and relationship with Rose. This story itself started off a tad slowly for me, and it took a couple of chapters for me to really get “hooked.” Once Rose and the Doctor reach the Mantodean stronghold for the final showdown, Rayner had my attention – particularly in the superb way she revealed just how much Rose’s friendship has grown to mean to the Doctor over the course of their time together. Rayner does a fantastic job with all of the series’ character voices – the Doctor, Rose, Jackie, and Mickey are all true to character and fit seamlessly within the context of how they are portrayed on the show. The new characters – especially Robbie, with his Harry Potter-esque fantasy life – fit well within the context of the story and interact well with the canon characters. While porcupine-like aliens are a trifle silly, even by Who standards IMO, this novel works immensely well as a ninth Doctor adventure and I – somewhat surprisingly – thoroughly enjoyed it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Primeval's back!

The new season of Primeval starts on BBC America tonight - TONIGHT, people! And I am so freaking excited. Here's the link to the preview if the video below doesn't's being difficult.


This post is really just an excuse to post this fantabulous picture of David Tennant. PBS has announced that David Tennant will be the new host of the Masterpiece Contemporary season, starting in October. You can read the full press release here. Squee again!! Cannot wait!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wallander: Sidetracked

Sidetracked, the first episode of the Wallander mysteries starring Kenneth Branagh in the title role premiered on Masterpiece Mystery yesterday. And the verdict is...I really liked it. I don't see it becoming a series I obsess over (big shocker, I know), but the character of Kurt Wallander is shaping up to be an ideal vehicle for Kenneth Branagh's formidable acting talents. Here's the brief summary of last night's show from the PBS website:

As Swedish inspector Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) watches helplessly, a young girl stands trembling in a rapeseed field, about to do herself great harm. Wallander's work gets under his skin, and this case is no exception. What evil would drive a girl to such desperation? Wallander is soon distracted from this question by a string of grisly murders. A former minister of justice, an art dealer, a wife-beating thug and a playboy have all been scalped. The haunting memory of the girl in the field drives restless Wallander towards the dark secrets and cover up at the center of the story in this adaptation based on the work of international bestseller Henning Mankell.

I'd never even heard of Henning Mankell prior to reading about this show when the Mystery schedule was announced a few months ago. This show is interesting because apparently the Wallander mysteries are something of a Swedish cultural icon...yet this show has a very "British" feel to it, with a twist. The settings are rather Swedish, I suppose, since they are like nothing else I've seen in a contemporary British mystery series. However, though I only recognized two of the actors (Branagh, of course, and David Warner playing Wallander's father, Povel), the entire company drops British colloquialisms on a fairly regular basis. The resulting show is an interesting hybrid of both worlds.

The most interesting part of this show is not the mysteries themselves, of course, but the character of Wallander. Branagh owns this role. His presence absolutely commands attention whenever he's on-screen. I tend to rather enjoy British shows about haunted, tortured detectives (Inspector Lewis, Jericho), but Wallander takes the type to a new high (or low, depending on how you want to describe it). Wallander is a man who is haunted by his work. He's got abysmal manners (I LOVE it when he gets exasperated with the profiler the department calls in as backup!) and is something of a slob, but he's driven to do his job and do it well, no matter the cost to his personal life or well-being. Physically Branagh easily fits the description of a Swedish man (tall and blonde), but it's his face that makes this character really gripping. Every line, every expression, all the pain and urgency Wallander feels are all beautifully expressed on Branagh's face. Branagh is to be commended for the way he brings a lifetime of skill and emotion to the role.

Casting David Warner as Branagh's father was a stroke of genius. These two play so well off each other, and their dysfunctional but loving father/son relationship is beautifully and realistically portrayed. Their scene together at the conclusion of Sidetracked provided a wonderful, emotional punch to the conclusion of the film. I'm looking forward to seeing how this relationship develops in further installments of the show.

Wallander's character fascinates me...I'm looking forward to Firewall next Sunday. So, if you watched Wallander what did you think?

Oh, almost forgot to add...kudos to Martin Phipps for providing a terrific score! It did an excellent job setting the mood & tone of the show.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Coming up on Masterpiece

In case anyone was wondering, I'm not going to be reviewing The Old Curiosity Shop, the last installment of this year's Masterpiece Classic season. To depressing by far IMO!

The Masterpiece Mystery season kicks off tomorrow with Wallander, series one, starring the one and only Kenneth Branagh (woo-hoo!). Here's a short preview:

Here's a look at the entire schedule:

MAY 10 – 31 Wallander, Series I
In the bucolic but brutal seaside town of Ystad, Sweden, Inspector Kurt Wallander has been solving heinous crimes for his entire middle-aged career. In his first recurring television role, Kenneth Branagh brings the scruffy Swedish sleuth to life in this series based on the international bestsellers by Henning Mankell.
May 10 Sidetracked (90 minutes)
May 17 Firewall (90 minutes)
May 31 One Step Behind (90 minutes)

JUN 7 – 14 Foyle’s War, Series V (Encore)
Set along the South Coast of England in the 1940s, Foyle's War stars Michael Kitchen as the no-nonsense Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, the straightforward sleuth who fights his own battles on the home front while war rages across Europe.
Jun 7 Broken Souls (90 minutes)
Jun 14 All Clear (90 minutes)

JUN 21 – 28 Hercule Poirot, Series X
David Suchet reprises his role as suave Hercule Poirot in two new episodes.
Jun 21 Cat Among the Pigeons (90 minutes)
Jun 28 Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (90 minutes)
JUL 5 – 26 Miss Marple, Series IV
One of Agatha Christie's signature characters returns to Mystery!, with Julia McKenzie taking over the role of spinster sleuth Miss Marple in four new episodes.
Jul 5 A Pocket Full Of Rye (90 minutes)
Jul 12 Murder is Easy (90 minutes)
Jul 19 They Do It With Mirrors (90 minutes)
Jul 26 Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (90 minutes)

AUG 16 – 23 Inspector Lewis, Series I (Encore)
Aug 16 Old School Ties (90 minutes)
Aug 23 Expiation (90 minutes)
AUG 20 – Inspector Lewis, Series II
SEPT 20 Kevin Whately returns as Inspector Lewis for a second full season. The much-loved Oxford policeman is once again joined by Laurence Fox (A Room with a View) as Lewis’ young partner DS Hathaway. And as the relationship between Inspector and Sergeant grows and develops we see new sides to the inimitable duo.
Aug 30 And The Moonbeams Kiss The Sea (90 minutes)
Sept 6 Music To Die For (90 minutes)
Sept 13 Life Born of Fire (90 minutes)
Sept 20 The Great and the Good (90 minutes)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Little Dorrit, Part Five (you thought I'd never get around to it, didn't you?)

I’m shamefully late in posting my thoughts on the final installment of Little Dorrit, but life intervened in a not-so-small way these past few weeks, involving day after day of horrible allergy problems and sinus headaches. Either I’m getting better at long last, or I’m just getting used to a horribly low status quo…not sure which yet. *wink* Then there’s work stress, and on top of all that my grandmother (Dad’s side) has had several health issues accompanying attempts to get her settled into an assisted living facility. Thankfully, her situation took a turn for the better this weekend…but the adjustment is still difficult. Prayers appreciated!

Spoilers ahead…

All that to say, my delay in posting this final write-up happily has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the conclusion – Little Dorrit has proven to be an outstanding production, and hands down is my runaway favorite part of this year’s Masterpiece Classic season. Since it’s been a while, here are links to my reviews of part one, two, three, and four of Little Dorrit, and here’s the brief episode summary from the Masterpiece website:

Broken by reminders of the past in London, Mr. Dorrit returns to be with Amy in Italy. Amy watches as her father continues to fall apart.

Pancks discovers the whereabouts of Miss Wade, and Arthur asks for her help in finding Rigaud. Arthur is convinced that Rigaud's ties to the House of Clennam relate to his father's deathbed secrets.

Meanwhile, an unthinkable revelation about Mr. Merdle sends shockwaves throughout London. The story reaches a climax at the Marshalsea where Amy and Arthur meet once more, and at the House of Clennam, where finally Mrs. Clennam's secrets are brought to light.

Where the pace of episode four dragged a bit for me, I was riveted by the conclusion. Amy (Claire Foy) and Arthur (Matthew Macfadyen) are placed squarely front and center and are the focal point of the action, and it’s a joy after five-plus hours of agony to finally seen their relationship get somewhere! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I’ve made no secret of my distaste for Mr. Dorrit – he’s been annoying, pompous, overbearing, manipulative, and downright emotionally abusive. He’s dispatched rather quickly at the beginning of episode five, and I have to give particular credit to Claire Foy, James Fleet (Amy’s uncle, Frederick Dorrit), and Tom Courtenay (Mr. Dorrit himself) for the emotional pull they imparted to these scenes. My intense dislike for Mr. Dorrit softened at the end in the face of Amy and Frederick’s love and grief over his loss. And speaking of loss, I totally didn’t expect for Frederick to give up the ghost after his brother’s death!! That was just awful…I loved his interaction with Amy, and I was sort of hoping they could support each other’s efforts to frustrate societal expectations. *wink* Amy and her uncle were a sweet pair – kindred, giving spirits in the midst of a crazy, delusional family. James Fleet’s performance at the end was incredibly moving, very well done indeed (a nice change from Fleet’s flakier, but equally endearing turn in The Vicar of Dibley).

Why not jump right from one death to another? (That sounds really morbid and flippant, doesn’t it? LOL) Mr. Merdle and his banking schemes finally come crashing down, and wipe out the fortunes of pretty much everyone we’ve come to know over the course of the series. Can we say timely & relevant? Anyway, Mr. Merdle (Anton Lesser) is really quite creepy given how we never see him lose his cool. Watching him ask to borrow Fanny’s penknife with what can only be described as a chipper manner was really rather mind-blowing. Merdle had obviously completely disconnected from reality. And I seriously didn’t expect him to off himself in a bathtub!! It was absolutely fascinating to see the panic and widespread effect Merdle’s suicide had on all of London society. The “man of the age” brought down the fortunes of so many, and I appreciated that the film gave us a glimpse at the disastrous ripple effect caused by the collapse of Merdle’s banking empire.

Merdle’s death brings me a final note about Fanny Dorrit, now married to the besotted Edmund Sparkler. She marries to spite Mrs. Merdle, and then the rug is unceremoniously ripped out from under her with the collapse of the Merdle banking empire. I have really gotten a kick out of Emma Pierson’s portrayal of Fanny – she’s not a wholly admirable character by a longshot, but I like her nonetheless. She’s got sass and spunk and outrageous manners, and at the end of the day she loves her sister. Really, when it comes down to brass tacks as the saying goes, Fanny is the best equipped character to deal with the Merdles’ reversal of fortunes. And I love the delicious irony that the pretentious Mrs. Merdle is now dependent on a daughter-in-law she despises – it’s crystal-clear by this point that Mrs. Merdle and Fanny are more alike than either woman would ever dare admit.

JOHN CHIVERY ROCKS! Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ll try to talk about why my darling assistant turnkey is so fabulous. Russell Tovey’s acting has consistently exceeded my expectations throughout this entire production. I fell in love with John’s character at the very beginning of the program, but I was completely unprepared for where Tovey took his character in the concluding installment. The first time I watched John confront Arthur about Amy, when Arthur becomes a Marshalsea resident, my jaw dropped. I can remember clearly thinking he’s really going for it, I never expected him to go there. Tovey’s performance is so visceral, so gut-wrenching, that the emotional punch of the scene knocked me flat. And when John delivers his own eulogy (of sorts)…I cannot lie, people, the man made me cry. On top of all this, he continually helps Amy and Arthur, sacrificing his own peace of mind out of love for Amy - the guy is too good for words. John Chivery goes down as one of my all-time favorite characters, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where Russell Tovey's acting career goes from here.

Amy and Arthur’s first reunion during this section of the film is anything but warm and fuzzy. I really never expected Amy to basically tell Arthur off like she does, but a part of me was really quite glad to see it. Arthur is truly a lovely, stand-up guy, but he is so freaking DENSE! I have to admit, when John smacks Arthur upside the head by revealing Amy’s true feelings, I did enjoy his suffering through the realization just a wee bit. His suffering seemed like a smallish price to pay for the flipping MENTAL ANGUISH Amy had put up with for 80% of the show. Anyways…I love, love, LOVE Amy and Arthur’s proper reunion, when he wakes up from his fever to discover she’s been nursing him back to health. Of course then I want to smack him upside the head with a 2x4 when he tries to go all noble – I love you, but now that I’m in debtor’s prison I’m tainted for all time, blah, blah, blah…but good for Amy for basically telling him you can blather on all you want but you’re stuck with me for good.

Regarding the whole Rigaud/Miss Wade/House of Clennam mystery, without going into detail I’m going to say I’m on the whole pretty pleased with how everything is resolved. The first time I watched this portion of the program, I was left confused by Arthur and Amy’s relationship…somehow I ended up thinking they were cousins. Thankfully another commenter came to the rescue with an explanation (bottom line: Arthur and Amy are not related at all - LOL!). As Mrs. Clennam learns, the truth will out. Did anyone actually think the House of Clennam was going to fall down, literally?! That completely shocked me. LOL! Flintwinch's "blimey" as he climbs out of the rubble was priceless. I mean the house actually, physically, fell apart. I still find that rather mind-blowing. A little obvious (LOL), but it makes for interesting television, that's for sure.

Arthur and Amy's final, at long last, boy-I-never-thought-this-day-would-come declaration of love was a sweet, sweet payoff to all of the turmoil and trouble the pair endured throughout the series. Macfadyen and Foy really made a great romantic on-screen couple. There was something incredibly romantic in the way the two looked on-screen - the romantic in me just melted into a puddle of goo (good goo, LOL) at the way Arthur just picked Amy up and swung her around with joy. When Matthew Macfadyen smiles, it's almost like he becomes a completely different person (you can really see that in his turn as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice). I know this is cheesy, but seeing Arthur finally really, truly joyful, the weight of secrets and mean pseudo-mothers lifted from his shoulders - that just made me happy.

This series was amazing. Kudos to the filmmakers and Andrew Davies in particular for scripting another Dickens miniseries for me to obsess over. *wink* There's so much "meat" to this series, I'm sure I'll be picking up on new details and nuances of performances for some time to come.

Purchase Little Dorrit on DVD (totally worth it people, trust me!).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Enduring Justice Blog Tour stop!

About the book:

A painful past
Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.

A racially-motivated killer
As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A life-altering choice
A racist’s well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line between the two is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?

About the Defenders of Hope series: Visit

About Amy:

Amy Wallace is a freelance writer and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and serves as the liaison for the training division of the county police department. Amy is the author of Ransomed Dreams, the first book in the Defenders of Hope series, and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers, and God Allows U-Turns for Teens. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Georgia.


Enter to win all THREE BOOKS in the DOH series by signing up for Amy’s Dark Chocolate Suspense Newsletter and then leave a comment on this blog tour post ( It’s chock full of insider info on the writing world, a thought-provoking devotion, and easy but yummy recipes. If you already subscribe to the newsletter, just leave a comment saying so on the blog tour post! The winner will be chosen at random on 5/8/09. Two runner's up will also be chosen to win a copy of Enduring Justice.

Review coming soon!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Review: The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards

The Resurrection Casket
By: Justin Richards
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 0-563-48642-2

About the book:

Starfall – a world on the edge, where crooks and smugglers hide in the gloomy shadows and modern technology refuses to work. And that includes the TARDIS.

The pioneers who used to be drawn by the hope of making a fortune from the mines can find easier picking elsewhere. But they still come – for the romance of it, or in the hope of finding the lost treasure of Hamlek Glint – scourge of the spaceways, privateer, adventurer, bandit…

Will the TARDIS ever work again? Is Glint’s lost treasure waiting to be found? And does the fabled Resurrection Casket – the key to eternal life – really exist? With the help of new friends, and facing terrifying new enemies, the Doctor and Rose aim to find out…


The Resurrection Casket is my first foray into the world of Doctor Who fiction, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with this introduction. This novel features the tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant, and his companion Rose, as played by Billie Piper. It’s not too much of a stretch to envision this novel as an episode set sometime during series 2 of the current television show. While not quite the caliber of the series 2 episodes, the characterization of Rose and the Doctor is strong enough to make Casket a nice and believable addition to the chronicles of their adventures. When the TARDIS encounters a powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse), all systems shut down and Rose and the Doctor are unceremoniously stranded on the world of Starfall, where the most advanced technology is steam-powered. Many of Starfall’s inhabitants, like young Jimm who befriends the Doctor and Rose, dream of escaping their hardscrabble existence and striking it rich – perhaps even finding the fabled lost treasure of the dread pirate Hamlek Glint. The whole pirate angle of the story – especially the way the “Black Shadow” is used to mark someone for death – owes a great deal to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Those elements of Treasure Island translate well into the fantastic, science fiction realm of the Doctor Who universe. Richards’ story accomplishes what so many of the Doctor’s adventures do so well – adding a though-provoking, or terrifying, or fantastical new element to the familiar and known, changing all the “rules.” The biggest strength of The Resurrection Casket is Richards’ characterization of the Doctor – as far as I’m concerned he nails David Tennant’s mannerisms, perfectly capturing the wonder, joy, intensity, and manic energy Tennant brings to the Doctor on-screen. If you’re like me and can’t get enough of the Doctor’s adventures, Casket’s an enjoyable read, suitable for whiling away a couple of hours lost in the Doctor & Rose’s company.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Nothing But Trouble

Tyndale House Publishers (May 1, 2009)


Susan May Warren


Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living.

The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.

As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.


PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

1) After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start.

2) The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town.

3) Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ's former flame—is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing But Trouble, go HERE