“Q” is for The Quiet Man

source: en.wikipedia.org
source: en.wikipedia.org

Watched: April 18, 2015 on Netflix

Hashtag: #WatchingQuietMan

Year Released: 1952

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance

Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara

Run Time: 129 minutes

Description (from Google): In an attempt to escape his past, Sean Thornton (John Wayne) returns to America to reclaim his homestead. Once he is home, his eye is caught by Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara), a poor maiden with an ill-tempered older brother named Will. Their relationship is constantly on attack by Will (Victor McLaglen), which forms the main plot line, with Sean’s past as the undercurrent.

source: tumblr.com
source: tumblr.com

Here’s what I got out of this movie: I’m super attracted to John Wayne in a tailored suit and I will now need to watch all of his westerns to see if I feel the same way about him in cowboy attire.  Also, while I loved Maureen O’Hara in the original Parent Trap, I did not care for her in this movie.  She was scared whitless of this man (John Wayne’s character Sean Thornton), then he kisses her once (without any prompting or permission) and suddenly she’s in love with him.  I realize there probably weren’t a ton of character options for women back in the 50’s, but I mean, COME ON!  Of course, it could have just been the tailored suit she was so enamored with, in which case, I semi-forgive her.

After watching the film, I read the trivia section on IMDb, as I always do, and found out that the studio wanted the director (John Ford) to cut at least 9 minutes out of the movie to get it under two hours and he argued that he’d already trimmed all the fat.  Well, I’d like to argue with him on that.  There were so many gratuitous shots of green valleys and hills, and superfluous minor characters that he could have EASILY cut another 15-20 minutes from this film and not lost a bit of story.  I agree with the studio, it was TOO long.

I mostly enjoyed it, except for the length and the terrible Mary Kate character, but I doubt I’ll watch again.

source: doriantb.blogspot.com
source: doriantb.blogspot.com

 

 

For more of my tweets from this movie, follow me on Twitter @RLHammAuthor and search for #WatchingQuietMan

Cover Reveal: Date Shark, by DelSheree Gladden

When It Comes to Choosing Between Obsession and Passion,

Some Lines are Meant to Be Crossed

Life as the marketing director for a popular fashion boutique is overwhelming for Leila Sparrow, to say the least. She’s not sure what ever possessed her to add revamping her dating life to her already hectic schedule. Calling in renowned Date Shark, Eli Walsh seemed like a good idea until she actually met with him. She isn’t supposed to be fantasizing about her dating coach. Leila knows he only sees her as a client, but when their business relationship becomes more of a friendship, it’s hard not to imagine what might be.
His Date Shark business was only meant to be a side-enterprise to his thriving couple’s therapy practice, but Eli Walsh knows it’s become more of an obsession. At least, it was until he agreed to take on Leila. Somehow she has stolen his entire focus. He wants to admit his fascination with her and growing romantic interest, but he knows coming on too strong will scare her away. His plan to convince her that she is worth any man’s interest by first being her friend is challenged when his tips start to pay off and Leila begins dating Luke. Will his friendship with Leila mean the end to any romantic pursuit?

Date Shark will be released from Limitless Publishing on

May 13th, 2014!

In the mean time… Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook copy of Date Shark!

Book Review: Fate War Alliance, by E.M. Havens

book coverFate War: Alliance is the first book in the Fate War series.

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Overall **** 4 out of 5 Stars.  I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

An arranged marriage between Prince Cole and Princess Samantha provides the alliance needed to defeat the Fate Army.

Prince Cole is your basic playboy-not-interested-in-being-King.  Princess Samantha is anything but basic.  When Cole’s brother is killed, Cole is forced to step into his place as next-in-line to the throne, but he doesn’t exactly go willingly.  Sam wants to escape palace life, but before she can, her parents send her to a “finishing” school and wipe out her uniqueness and free will.

After being forced to wed and then consummate the marriage in front of a room full of strangers, Cole and Samantha get off to a bit of a rocky start.  He wants to get to know her, but all she wants to do is please him, and the two wants don’t exactly compute.  Eventually, Cole is able to coax out pieces of the true Samantha: she’s a fast reader who retains everything she’s read, she loves horses, dessert is her favorite part of a meal.  But Samantha is constantly at war with herself, having been “taught” in the finishing school what a true lady is and Cole’s behavior won’t let her follow her what she’s “learned.”

When it is finally revealed that Samantha’s mother repressed her daughter’s genius in order to hide her paternity, Sam finally accepts herself for who she is and allows her true self to come to the surface.  Cole gifts her a tinker shop and she shows aptitude for battle.  When the Fate army begins closing in, she proves herself capable of of much more than building trinkets by leading the Alliance army to victory against the Fate.

This was my first foray into the steampunk genre and I quite liked it!  Because the world is based on something I was already familiar with, Victorian England (with some medieval elements), the world-building didn’t throw me.  It intrigued me.  Havens does an excellent job of dropping in phrases and technologies unique to her world while giving the reader the context clues needed to figure out what those references mean.

The heat between Cole and Samantha was ABSOLUTELY FANFREAKINGTASTIC.  Havens teases the characters and the readers and when things finally happen, it is well-worth the wait.  It’s sweet, it’s sensual, it’s loving.  And then, to top it off, the reader can tell the characters genuinely like and care for each other, beyond lust and love.

Character Development: **** 4.5 out of 5 stars.  Samantha is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever read.  Her constant internal battle is not only well-written and believable, it is also so unique.  She merges the two stereotypical female characters we’ve come to expect in Princess stories: the weak, damsel-in-distress, needing her Prince to be her Savior, with the strong, bad-assed, take-no-crap-from-anyone warrior, and she does it in a way that is not stereotypical at all.  I don’t think I’m explaining this correctly, but read it, and I think you’ll get what I’m saying.  I loved Samantha, because to tell the truth, I’m a little sick of female characters who are strong only because it is un-PC to write a female character who isn’t strong.  Samantha is weak AND strong.  Insecure AND confidant.  Subversive AND dominant.  But she’s not all obnoxious about it.

The other characters were also really well-written.  Cole started out a little cliche, but he grew on me, especially in his good intentions towards Samantha.  Zeb was amazingly well-done, and he was only featured in a few scenes, so I imagine he’ll have a larger role in the next installment.  Then there’s Jasper.  Oh Jasper. For a character who appeared only once and who didn’t technically say anything, he was incredibly interesting.  There’s mystery surrounding him – we don’t know if he’s good or evil, we don’t know why he joined the Fate army, we don’t know if he’s somehow controlling Samantha in her dark periods.  So many questions, but good ones!  I didn’t feel unsatisfied not knowing the answers to them, it just made me ready to read the next book.

Plot: **** 4 out of 5 stars.  A lot happens in this book.  We meet Cole and Samantha, they begin their married life, and Cole begins Samantha’s “re-education.”  Then there is the discovery of Samantha’s true self.  They fall in love.  Samantha finally enables herself to trust Cole and become intimate with him.  The Fate army draws near.  Samantha proves she’s more than just a pretty face by leading their army.  The progression of the plot is steady, the tension between Cole and Samantha perfect.  There were a few scenes of conflict between Sam and Cole that felt a little forced/contrived to me, which caused me to remove one star, but for the most part, it was beautifully plotted.

Writing Style/ Voice of the Author: **** 4 out of 5 stars.  Havens keeps it simple, which I really like.  The story was easy to read, the dialogue flowed well and felt natural.  The book is a breeze.  There were a few awkward scene jumps, but for the most part, I liked the pacing.  The author’s voice never intruded.  I said it in my review of Gone Girl, and I’ll say it again: nothing ruins the flow of a book like the author’s voice intruding.  Havens showed her story beautifully .

Favorite Lines:

“Although he had managed to cooperate as little as possible over the years with his father, King Arnold, his duties as Prince could no longer be ignored.  Duty.  He just couldn’t understand how societies so technologically advanced, and continuing to advance, could hold on to such archaic and simply barbaric traditions.”

“Sprocket Defend!”

“Sam found it wasn’t just warmth that soaked into her body from his touch, strength seeped in, too.”

Purchase Fate War: Alliance

Kindle

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HeadshotAbout the Author:

Who is E.M. Havens? I’m a lot of things. The word that seems to define me most at the moment is mom. It can be all consuming. Not only am I a mom of three (one of them is a teenager…pity me), but I also home-school (pity me more). I share this awesome responsibility with the love of my life, best friend, and soul-mate husband.

Add to that, the twenty-five chickens, twelve turkeys, ten guineas, nine pigs, three barn cats, two Great Pyrenees guardian dogs, a Chihuahua, a house cat, and a goose, it makes for one crazy, full, and certainly entertaining life.

Somewhere in there I find the time to write.  I started out young writing poems, then moved on to songs. I actually have a Bachelor in Music with a secondary in Science because I can’t stand English. Yes, the writer hates English.  I like to read the story for the experience of reading the story, not to nitpick each letter and comma. But I digress.

I eventually found blogging and really enjoyed sharing my life that way. When an unfortunate turn of events separated me from my music equipment, I decided to use my overactive imagination, my love of reading, and my new found hobby, prose writing, to release some of my creative energy.  I wrote my first novel and loved the experience. Fate War: Alliance is actually the second novel I wrote and the first to be published.  Now I’m working on my third and several sequels to Fate War!

So that’s pretty much me, sitting in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma, reading, writing, collecting eggs from the coop, and being a schoolmarm. It’s a pretty great life.

E.M.’s Blog

Author Facebook Page

Fate War Facebook Page

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Bookshelf Browsing- Why Judging a Book By Its Cover is Totally Okay by Me

I read somewhere that writers aspiring to be published should

(A) Read as many books in the genre they are writing in as possible

and

(B) Support other beginning (or non-famous) authors by buying their books.

Well, if you’ve been reading my blog regularly you’ll know my financial situation as of late hasn’t really allowed me to purchase many books (or any at all), so I’m dreadfully out of touch with what is out there in book world right now.

For Christmas I received a couple of gift cards for Barnes and Noble 🙂 and I decided I should use them to go out there and fulfill A and B.  Okay, so I can’t really fulfill them, the gift cards aren’t bottomless, but I can do something small.

So I browsed the shelves at my local B&N for a while today.  My goal was to find a book where the genre wasn’t formulaic romance but had a romantic storyline.  I also wanted to find an interesting title and, if possible, I wanted a book by a first-time author (well, first time published).

I got 2 out of 3.  The book I choose is called The Smart One and The Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik. The title immediately caught my eye, though it was on the bottom shelf, as did the cover.  (I tried to find a picture of the cover online to add here, but none that I found were downloadable, so I’ll have to describe it to you, sorry!)  It has a plain white background, a stack of books and a bright pink purse sitting on top of the books.  The “Pretty” in the title is written in a pink cursive font while the rest of the title is written in a straight, brown print.

I know the old adage goes: don’t judge a book by its cover, but I can’t help it.  I’m a FIRM believer in judging books by their covers.  At least for selecting ones to buy.  This cover told me SO much about the story even before I read the back jacket.  I assumed that I hadn’t just picked up a crime or mystery thriller, that the main characters would be female, and that the dynamics of their relationship would be affected by their status as either “smart” or “pretty.”  And obviously, the choice of books present on the front cover drew me in because I love an MC who reads.

Then, I turn the book over and I find it fits the genre specifics I want!  It’s about 2 sisters, one who, I must admit, sounds A LOT like me (another reason I eventually choose to purchase the book- that whole, relating-to-the-MC factor).  I assume this is the “smart” sister.  The sister I assume is the “pretty” sister tries to set “smart” sister up with an (quoting from the back jacket here) highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming guy.

I’m hooked!!!

It didn’t meet my first novel criteria, the author has 4 other books published, however, The Smart One and The Pretty One was the only book of Mrs. LaZebnik’s on the shelf at B&N. (Well, the fiction shelf at least, 2 of her books are non-fiction, I think.)

I’m very excited to read the book and let everyone out here in the blogosphere know how my experiment worked.  I have one gift card left, so after I finish it, I’ll go on the hunt for another hidden treasure.

I encourage everyone to try this experiment out for themselves.  Even if I don’t end up liking the book, the hunt for it was a bit thrilling and gives me the hope that someday (maybe, keep your fingers crossed!) someone out there will be browsing the shelves at their book store of choice and just happen to spot MY book, pick it up, and feel compelled to buy it.

After writing the above, I googled The Smart One and The Pretty One to see if I could find a website to link to for anyone interested in learning more about the book.  I found Claire LaZebnik’s blog!  It’s linked above to the page for the book, but I’m going to link it here to her homepage as well and I’ll be adding her to my blogroll.  I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit.  After google sent me to the page on her blog for the book, I clicked on the homepage and her latest blog entry is about her love of Jane Austen and how she feels connected with her through a very personal experience in her own life.  I cannot wait to read more of her blog and it makes me even more jazzed to read the book!