Sweet Valley Confidential – For the Love of Nostalgia Please Stop

So they’re releasing “Sweet Valley Confidential”, and they’re making a Sweet Valley High movie too.

There is a reason Sweet Valley High books were so popular in the 1980’s. And 1990’s. And early 2000’s for that matter. I’m not going to count how many were written but it is some mind-boggling number like over 500 at a quick glance. This includes the spin-offs, University, Senior High, Twins, Unicorn Club, Kids, Junior High, Thrillers for each spin-off series etc.

Bloody Sweeney Watch It Again

Tim Burton brings a London to the screen so magnificently ruinous (like Mrs Lovett’s pies) you can almost smell the decay.
Depp’s scowling portrayal of Todd brings a new intensity to the revenge obsessed barber, while Helena Bonham-Carter’s world-worn Mrs Lovett, in her dreams of a new life beside the sea-side, touches the heart with a ridiculous poignancy.
The young lovers are sweet, the villains, scoundrels.
With flashing razors, gallons of blood, lashings of humour, possibly the first musical murder montage, it has all the vengeance fueled intensity of Japanese Kabuki theatre.
A bloody good romp.

Watch it again.

Don’t Be Afraid to Read Bentley Little…

My friend Dave is visiting from Western Australia. You will probably hear a bit about Dave in future blogs. Usually referred to as “Dave” or sometimes “Comic Book Dave” depending on what I am discussing. Dave is a passionate book collector, and we have many long discussions about books and our latest finds. Obviously he collects comics, but he also collects a massive amount of fiction, hardback first editions, of course.

Clair-de-Lune by Cassandra Golds – The Mouse, The Monk and the Moonlight Ballerina

Clair de Lune by Cassandra Golds

“Once upon a time – one hundred years ago, and half as many years again – there lived a girl called Clair-de-Lune, who could not speak”

So we meet our heroine, Clair-de-Lune, who lives at the top of a very tall, very narrow, very old building with her Grandmother, Madame Nuit. Clair-de-Lune has not spoken a word since the night her mother, the great ballerina La Lune, died onstage…

“at the end of a tragic and beautiful ballet about swans, who, it is said, are mute until the very last moments of their lives, when they give forth the most lovely of all songs”

The Great Redwall Hunt – The Wall, The Quest, The Warrior

It might have been 1987, perhaps a shade before, but I will stick to “when I was eleven years old” (and that is quite a stretch in memory) when I first saw Cluny the Scourge. On my oldest friend’s bookshelf, (she is still around and sharing books with me) sat a paperback copy of Redwall. A 1986 copy to be exact, with the original British cover illustrated by Pete Lyon. She was quite excited when she purchased it, as she had been reading her cousin’s copy on the weekends when visiting, and now she had one of her own. I was promised a loan of this marvelous book as soon as she had finished, and I was certainly intrigued, as she had filled me with tales of Abbeys and Mice and dastardly Sea Rats. I was convinced I had never read anything like it before and therefore it must be the greatest book written since any of my Enid Blytons. And then there was the superb illustration of Cluny on the cover, and surely he must be the greatest villain any mouse had to overcome.

On ‘Recycling’ Vintage Books and What It’s Worth

‘Cassandra by Chance’ by Betty Neels original cover from 1973,  opposite a 1990’s reprint of the same book.

While you’ll often find art-work reproduced from vintage pulp-fiction, the early Mills and Boon and Harlequin artwork tends to get overlooked. Some of those old covers feature the coolest artwork, and I am sorry they don’t reproduce it when they reprint collector’s editions of books. Once in a (very long) while I come across large collections of M&B from the 60’s and 70’s, and if I am lucky I might find some of the 1950’s hardcovers (I have featured a picture of one in a previous blog on Betty Neels) which are really a lot of fun to go through.

On Steampunk Romance and starting with the Wrong Book

Edie had been nattering about ‘steampunk’ here and there, and while it piqued my curiosity each time, taking the time to check it out kept slipping my mind. While I was second-hand book shopping I picked up a copy of  ‘Steamed’ by Katie MacAlister. I vaguely recalled Edie telling me she hadn’t gotten past the first page, but thought I might give it a whirl (as I just told her, telling me not to do something is as good as daring me to).

On Comfort Zones, Happy Like Murderers and Loving Your Customers

I loathe listing true crime. When I sit with a pile of books filled with murder, torture, rape, and other unspeakable things, and as I read the back of the book for the synopsis, I get completely creeped out. It might sound ridiculous, but there you have it. I have hundreds of true crime books, and I usually limit myself to listing a small group at a time as it’s about all I can stand.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – Film Review

I found the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books about four years ago, well the first one, on the bargain table in a country book shop. They hadn’t taken off here, and I managed to find the rest (eight at the time) in the US and got them shipped here.

Book Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: September 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction

The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses.
The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Harry Potter and the Finale – A Journey

I think most (if not all) devoted Harry Potter fans have suffered ‘Post-Potter-Depression’.

One you devoured your latest Potter in short order you were left with a feeling of  loss. There was, after all, yet another year (or three) to go until your next adventure. Then there was the pre-release hype, the endless online discussions and speculation, the anticipation of once again diving into the world of Hogwarts and seeing your heroes triumph against adversity.

Where Great Adventures Begin