Love Rosie? Hate Rosie? Where is Rosie?

Film Review

Love Rosie

I chose this film because of the Boston location having just visited there (watched on return) . It is based on the novel ‘Where Rainbows End’ by Celia Ahern which I have not read but do like her as author.

In fact Ahern was listed as the Co-Production Director.  Which I assume gave her some say over how well the film represented the book.

However, on reading the credits I found that it was actually filmed in Toronto! And then in Ireland in Dublin and Wicklow… so much for Boston. No wonder I couldn’t recognise any of the places. It is almost as bad as the films/ TV shows set in New York which only show one view – the tall buildings of Manhattan! Even worse, the film was a British-German co-operation. Also, I thought that the hotel that Rosie owned was supposed to be in Cornwall but…

I did enjoy the film which I felt had a very nice story that moved to and fro. I thought that Ahern’s influence on trying to keep to the plot was obvious. The film didn’t receive rave reviews with only a 26% approval rating on the review site Rotten Tomatoes, or 3.5 stars on imdb. I usually use the later to choose TV programmes and films so… but airplanes don’t always give you this option! You takes what you get. I may well use Rotten Tomatoes more though as they had a 96% rating for Outlander and 4.7 stars!

However, I find that reading the book after the film is always a disappointment as you then see just how much was missed – don’t mind the other way as I just suspend disbelief  that it is the same story – like the current Outlander series on TV. At least they admit that the actor playing the heroine is nothing like described in the book!

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Music and Ants: Weird connection?

I just love going to the proms every year as it introduce me to new musicians, composers and music, especially as the Proms organisers ensure that a: they commission pieces from young and upcoming composers and b: there are always UK   and often World premieres of music.

So here is one that we went to recently where every piece but one was a premiere either UK or World.

  1. Pierre Boulez arranged by Johannes Schollhörn: Notations 2, 11, and 10.
  2. Johannes Schollhörn : La Treizième
  3. Shiori Usui: Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.
  4. camponotus leonardi
  5. spores
  6. pathology
  7. the grip
  8. hyphae
  9. Betsy Jolas: Wanderleid
  10. Joanna Lee: Hammer of Solitude
  11. the hammer alone in the house
  12. a presentiment
  13. a suicide
  14. Pierre Boulez: Dérive 2

Ok you say but just what on earth do all those titles mean and where do the Ants come in?

Well Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is also known as the Zombie Fungus! It affects ants of the Campotini tribe which includes the carpenter ants – apparently there are around 48 ant tribes – who knew this other than biologists I wonder? Anyway, this Zombie fungus is to be found in ants in tropical forests. The fungus spores infect an ant which leaves its nest and fellow ants and makes it way to the forest floor where it attaches itself to the underside of a convenient leaf. It remains on this leaf until it dies. It stops foraging etc.  It takes between 4 and 10 days for this to happen and during this time fruiting bodies for the fungus grow from the ant’s head (yuk)

see photo by “Ophiocordyceps unilateralis” by David P. Hughes, Maj-Britt Pontoppidan –   800px-Ophiocordyceps_unilateralis(http://www.plosone.org/article/showImageLarge.action?uri=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0004835.g001. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ophiocordyceps_unilateralis.png#/media/File:Ophiocordyceps_unilateralis.png)

which obviously opens and then release the spores to infect the next ant. So the music sequence from Shiori Usui reflects this happening. Hyphae is the phase of the fungal growth from the head and thus release and finally death of the ant.

The other interesting piece in parts of course is the Hammer of Solitude. This was written to reflect a poem by Rory Mullarkey. Rory Mullarkey is also a playwright (http://www.bloomsbury.com/author/rory-mullarkey) and has won several prizes for his plays and is still  very young only having graduated from Cambridge in 2009.

Quick bios on the young composers:

Shiori Usui: http://britishmusiccollection.org.uk/composer/shiori-usui/ http://shioriusui.com/

Moved to England at age 17 and has been composing here since. Her English stills needs some clarity… Works in ‘sound’ and ‘noise’ improvisation.

 

Joanna Lee: http://www.joannalee.co.uk/

Currently just completed a PhD in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire,

 

 

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How do you get to ‘Happy ever After’?

Letters to Zell

By Camille Griep

I loved the general format of this book in that it was three girls writing individually (with their individual slant on events that happened to them all) to a fourth girl who had gone away.

To understand the basic premise of the book you need to be familiar with the common story lines of 4 fairy-tale princesses: Snow White, Briar Rose, Cinderella and Rapunzel (Disney versions will do).the princesses

In this book these are real-life girls living in an alternate universe that depends on us – humans – for its existence. As long as we continue to read and to believe in fairy-stories and have imaginations that take us to story worlds then this universe will continue to exist. Within this alternate universe we have come to the point where the princesses have each to come to the end of their stories as written in the books about them. The happy ever after ending that was written for them in the pages. They have to complete all the actions that are written in these pages – with no deviation. Thus they have to marry the prince who rescued them so that the kingdoms will continue.  Three girls have completed their stories and we are now at the point where the fourth and final princess is planning her wedding and thus the completion of her Pages.

However, not everything goes according to plan. For a start these girls have some different ideas as to how their lives should go. They have been reading human magazines! They have realised that living happily ever after has not really happened to them and they are beginning to rebel but if the fourth princess doesn’t complete her Pages then the universe may end as all stories MUST be completed in the way they are written. But sometimes there are hiccups and substitutions and other unexpected occurrences which destabilise the stories.

The letters gradually reveal that these girls don’t see themselves in the way the stories do and want to live a life that is not dictated by the story. They want to be like ‘human’ girls and have careers or divorces or….

Warning: the book has a very sad section that brought tears to my eyes – which almost never happens and is why this book gets the 5 stars – but ends on a more positive note thankfully as the princesses make decisions about their futures and begin to implement them.

This book is an excellent read for those young girls / women who think that life owes them a ‘happy ever after’….

 

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Singing? But for Who?

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Madison’s Song

By Christine Amsden

 

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot series

Book Excerpt:

“Silence,” David commanded.

Her throat continued to work, but no sound emerged. She felt like a fish being gutted, choking and spluttering as David returned to the work of cutting into the soft, sensitive flesh of her belly. Yet even as tears refilled her eyes and fear devoured her heart, some part of her recognized that her guts remained intact. Whatever David was doing to her with the dagger involved tracing shallow patterns across the surface of her skin.

Fight the pain. Take deep breaths. Ground and center. She was not in the empty living room of a house she had not quite moved into yet, she was at church, singing in the choir. Above her, Jesus hung from a cross, a crown of thorns atop his head, a soft glow surrounding him. She usually found the magic within that glow. She reached for it…

“Stop that!” David slapped her hard across the face.

Once again her eyes flew open. She saw the dagger dripping with blood – her blood. Had her feeble grab for magic actually made a difference? David seemed to have noticed something, but what?

“You’re just making this harder on yourself,” David said.

“What do you want?” Madison tried to ask. Her mouth moved, her lips forming the question, but no sound emerged.

She didn’t think he would answer; he couldn’t even have heard the question, but to her surprise he only hesitated a moment before saying, “Your soul.”

He lowered the dagger.

Her soul? What did that mean? What could a man do with someone’s soul? She now knew what he wanted, at least in part, but she’d been right – knowing didn’t make a difference. If anything, it made things worse. She couldn’t calm down now. She couldn’t focus. She needed to breathe, to block out all distractions, in order to find her quiet place. How was she supposed to block out the razor-sharp sting of a blade slicing across her abdomen? How could she focus with her very soul in danger?

Forget magic. Time to pray. Prayer was something she understood.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

David slapped her across the cheek, leaving behind a fiery trail.

Madison prayed harder.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…

She braced herself for the strike of his hand against her cheek once more, but it didn’t come. For a heart-stopping moment, she thought her prayer hadn’t worked this time. Then an ear-splitting CRASH shook the room. It felt like an explosion. Surely the roof would come crashing down at any moment. Madison instinctively covered her head with her hands and curled into a ball.

She didn’t have time to take in what had happened – either the crash or the fact that her invisible bonds had evaporated as if they’d never existed. The house still trembled and dust filled the air when a great, primal roar made every hair on Madison’s body stand on end.

Slowly, she lifted her head. David stood in profile to her, his face white with terror, his gaze fixed on the splintered front door, which now hung precariously off its hinges. The sun had all but set, casting the unlit room in deep twilight, but she could just make out who had blasted his way through that door.

Scott Lee.

Her heart gave a painful little twang at the sight of the man she’d spent the past few weeks daydreaming about incessantly. Now here he was like an avenging angel out of one of her fantasies, frightening her enemy and offering her hope. In that moment, she could honestly say she had never seen a more beautiful man. He wasn’t particularly tall, but he was powerful, the clearly defined muscles of his bare upper arms rippling with strength.

Rumor had it he was a werewolf, and perhaps he was. Something lent him superhuman strength. The evidence was there in the splintered remains of the front door and then, the next second, in the ferocity of his attack.

 

Author Bio

Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that affects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

Follow the author:

 

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Hawks kill – does the sky?

A Killing Sky by Andy Strada

A Netgalley review

This is no.6 in the PI series about Frank Pavlicek and his sidekick Toronto.

I found that there were lots of different elements in this story with lots of clues but also lots of hidden motives that you don’t discover until some way into the book/story. I did really enjoy the story and the style of the writing and shall read more. I give it 4 stars.

As it happens the author -Strada – is a falconer and so he makes his detective Pavlicek one too. The detective’s hawk is called Armistead and is a red-tailed hawk. Not a familiar type of hawk to us British so I needed to look it up. Note the pun on the title here with hawks flying down to kill from the sky…

It seems that as is common with hawks, the female is the larger bird and that it mates with a tiercel – which means 1/3 in old French as the male is 1/3 of the size of the female.

In the book several types of hawks or birds of prey are mentioned and here is a short list – I hope I haven’t missed any: Info and photos mainly from http://www.britishfalconersclub.co.uk/

Red tailed hawk: The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the “chickenhawk, It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1600 grams (1.5 to 3.5 pounds) and measuring 45–65 cm (18 to 26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110 to 145 cm (43 to 57 in). The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males.red-tailed-hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goshawk: The Northern Goshawk (pronounced /ˈɡɒs.hɔːk/, from Old English gōsheafoc, “goose-hawk”), Accipiter gentilis, is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. The Goshawk has long been the favourite hunting bird here in the UK. The Goshawks from southern and central Europe tend to be smaller in size and flying weight than birds from areas like Finland and Russia.goshawk

 

 

 

 

 

Peregrine: Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the “Duck Hawk” in North America, is a cosmopolitan bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It is a large, crow-sized falcon, with a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and “moustache”. It can reach speeds over 320 km/h (200 mph) in a stoop, making it one of the fastest creatures on the planet. As is common with bird-eating raptors, the female is much bigger than the male.peregrine

 

 

 

Gyrfalcon: The Gyrfalcon (pronounced /ˈdʒɜrfɔːlkən/ or /ˈdʒɜrfælkən/; also spelled gerfalcon) Falco rusticolus is the largest of the falcon species. gyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle: eagle

 

American eagles of course are wonderful large birds. I have been lucky enough to see them myself in Florida when I went to the space shuttle area and they were perching on almost every post..

 

Sharp-skinned hawk: sharp skin

sharp-shinned_hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodland Accipiters: Within the Accipitridae family, the Eurasian sparrowhawk is a member of the large genus Accipiter, which consists of small to medium-sized woodland hawks. Most of the Old World members of the genus are called sparrowhawks or goshawks. sparrowhawk

 

 

 

 

Sparrowhawks will kill small birds as well as pigeons etc and often live in urban areas as do peregrines now. We have had a sparrowhawk nesting for many years two roads across from me, and my university was one of the first places in London that peregrines were spotted nesting on a window ledge on a tower block.

Now there was also mention of Saratoga water which also intrigued me. but in fact it turned out to be just a brand of spring water…

The age of the writing / writer was unfortunately shown when there mention of technology after all floppy disks have never been compatible with cell phones and certainly not a pocket sized cell phone. Maybe he was referring to stick drives? Or the very small types of hard drive storage that can be hidden in key fobs and so on. No computer – except those in museums still have floppy drives! And also file deletion is never really complete as our computer hackers/experts in retrieval will tell you. This is why so many firms who delete incriminating emails find themselves in court when those files are actually retrieved.

In youth we learn, in age we understand  Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach was an Austrian who has many famous quotes.

Nationality: Austrian
Type: Novelist
Born: September 13, 1830
Died: March 12, 1916

 

 

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