Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday's Film Adaption: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

A powerful tale of war, redemption, and a hero's journey.

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

When World War I breaks out, young Albert Narracott's beloved horse Joey is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. Joey serves in both the British and German armies before he winds up alone in the dangerous area between the two sides-"No Man's Land." Albert is too young to enlist, but goes to France to save Joey.
Release Date: December 25, 2011
Running Time: 146 minutes
Jeremy Irvine as Albert Narracott
Emily Watson as Rose Narracott
Peter Mullan as Ted Narracott
Niels Arestrup as Grandfather
David Thewlis as Lyons
Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Nicholls
Benedict Cumberbatch as Major Jamie Stewart
Céline Buckens as Emilie
Toby Kebbell as Colin, the British soldier from South Shields
Hinnerk Schönemann as Peter, the German soldier from Düsseldorf
Patrick Kennedy as Lieutenant Charlie Waverly
Leonard Carow as Private Michael Schröder
David Kross as Private Gunther Schröder
Matt Milne as Andrew Easton
Robert Emms as David Lyons
Eddie Marsan as Sergeant Fry
Nicolas Bro as Private Friedrich Henglemann
Rainer Bock as Brandt
Geoff Bell as Sergeant Sam Perkins
Liam Cunningham as Army Doctor
Gerard McSorley as Market Auctioneer
Tony Pitts as Sergeant Martin
Pip Torrens as Major Tompkins
Philippe Nahon as French Auctioneer
Julian Wadham as British Captain in Trench
David Dencik as German Base Camp Officer
Edward Bennett as Cavalry Recruiting Officer
Johnny Harris as Infantry Recruiting Officer
Tam Dean Burn as British Medic in Trench
Maximilian Brückner as German Artillery Officer
Maggie Ollerenshaw as the Narracott's neighbour
84th Academy Awards--February 26, 2012
Best Picture--Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy---Nominated
Best Art Direction--Rick Carter (production designer), Lee Sandales (set decorator)---Nominated
Best Cinematography--Janusz Kamiński---Nominated
Best Original Score--John Williams---Nominated
Best Sound Editing--Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom---Nominated
Best Sound Mixing--Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson---Nominated

65th British Academy Film Awards--February 12, 2012
Best Film Music--John Williams---Nominated
Best Cinematography--Janusz Kamiński---Nominated
Best Production Design--Rick Carter, Production Designer, Lee Sandales, Set Decorator---Nominated
Best Sound--Stuart Wilson, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Richard Hymns--- Nominated
Best Special Visual Effects--Ben Morris, Neil Corbould---Nominated

69th Golden Globe Awards--January 15, 2012
Best Motion Picture – Drama---Nominated
Best Original Score--John Williams---Nominated



Author Bio:
Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera. Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the war, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching and started to write. He left teaching after ten years in order to set up 'Farms for City Children' with his wife. They have three farms in Devon, Wales and Gloucestershire, open to inner city school children who come to stay and work with the animals. In 1999 this work was publicly recognized when he and his wife were awarded an MBE for services to youth. He is also a father and grandfather, so children have always played a large part in his life. Every year he and his family spend time in the Scilly Isles, the setting for three of his books.




Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens

Title: Beyond the Surface
Author: Felice Stevens
Series: The Breakfast Club #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: August 17, 2015
On 9/11, firefighter Nick Fletcher’s world changed forever. He's unable to rid himself of survivor’s guilt, made worse by the secret he hides from his family and co-workers. Nick's life is centered around helping burn victims, until he is reunited with the man he’d once loved but pushed away. Now he has a second chance at a love he thought lost forever.

For fashion designer Julian Cornell, appearances mean everything. His love affairs are strictly casual, and the only thing he cares about is making his clothing line a success. A chance encounter with the man he loved long ago has Julian thinking for the first time in years there may be more to life than being seen at the best parties and what designer labels to wear.

When Julian’s world takes an unexpected turn, it's Nick who helps him regain perspective on what matters most in life. Julian, in turn, helps Nick accept who he is and understand he isn’t responsible for tragedies he couldn't prevent. Lost love found can be even sweeter the second time around and after all the years apart, both men learn to look beyond the surface to find the men they are inside.

Simply put, Felice Stevens has done it again.  Second chance stories can often leave readers feeling unsure whether one or both characters actually deserve the second chance so they can be difficult to accomplish.  Miss Stevens has done just that for Nick and Julian, you want to wrap them up and take them home so you can guarantee they see what is in front of them.  Tragedies can lead you to harden your heart so you don't ever experience that heartache again but sometimes when you find that special someone to show you that the risk to your heart can far outweigh the potential loss, you have to never let go of that person.  Nick and Julian's journey the second time around is beautifully written and you just might find something out about yourself as well as enjoy a great story.


     Julian was in the kitchen, sitting on one of the stools by the counter. He had a glass in front of him filled with what Nick presumed was vodka, having spied the Grey Goose bottle.
     “Would you like a drink? I have beer, wine…anything you’d like.”
     Nick shook his head, regret piercing his heart as he watched the hope drain from Julian’s eyes.
     “I don’t think so. I’m going to head home. I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for Jamal tonight.”
     Julian stood abruptly, kicking the stool away from his feet.
     “Don’t treat me like I’m some fucking stranger, Nicky. You owe me. It’s been eighteen years; you think I’m going to let you walk out on me again like you did before? After what just happened between us? After you fell apart? No fucking way. I’m not that same person and neither are you, obviously.”
     Taken aback by Julian’s anger, Nick remained mute.
     “What the hell is going on with you? One minute you’re tongue fucking me into the next century and the next you’re freaking out. I know I’m a damn good kisser, but this isn’t about us, is it? It has nothing to do with our past and everything to do with you and the shit that’s floating around in your head.”
     Julian stepped closer to him and Nick, who normally couldn’t stand people near him, was rooted to the floor, unable to move.
     “Talk to me, Nicky. Tell me what happened to you.”
     He was so tired of holding himself together, feeling like at any moment he’d shatter into a million tiny pieces, leaving nothing behind but a pile of dust.
     Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
     The words poured out of him, flowing unchecked this time. “It should’ve been me. We all went to the Towers to save them. It was my day off, but I went anyway. I heard and couldn’t stay home; I had a duty to help, you know? But I lived and they all died. Why, Julian? Why did I live and they didn’t?”
     “Oh, Nick.” Julian held him close. “I don’t have the answers for you. No one does. But I’m going to be completely selfish and say I’m so thankful you did make it and we’re here together after all these years.”
     Unflinching green eyes gazed back at him. Clever, beautiful eyes that Nick could never stop dreaming of. Eyes that at one time had held the promise of forever, until Nick ruined everything with his cowardice and shame. Unable to maintain Julian’s scrutiny, Nick broke away and ran to the elevator, his chest heaving, eyes stinging with tears.
     “Let me out. I need to leave here. NOW.”

Author Bio:
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


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Release Day Blitz: The Gatherer by AG Henley

Title: The Gatherer
Author: AG Henley
Series: Brilliant Darkness #2.5
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Alev is proud to be a Fire Sister, one of a fierce group of women who live on their own terms in a flaming mountain compound called the Cloister. The Sisters live without men, so Alev Gathers young girls to replenish their numbers. After she plucks young Kaiya from the remote village of Koolkuna, the girl’s father follows them into the wilderness. Alev keeps him at bay, but over time she suspects that this man, at least, isn’t the monster she was taught all men are.

When Kaiya’s father manages to reach the Cloister, the Sisters want to put him to death. Alev can look the other way, or she can heed the growing whispers of her heart to help the girl and her father escape. But to defy the Fire Sisters is to revoke the only life and family Alev has ever known—and to face certain death herself.

THE GATHERER is an exciting 50-page prequel novella in the bestselling young adult fantasy Brilliant Darkness series. The first novel, THE SCOURGE, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Two novels and two short stories are currently available, and the final novel in the series, THE FIRE SISTERS, is coming September 25, 2015.

     The mist thins suddenly, enough for me to see the three clearly . . . and for them to see me.
     Alarm seizes the two men’s faces as they scramble for their weapons—a stout club for each. They are bony, dirty, and in threadbare clothes. One is small enough to be mistaken for a child. He squints at me as if nearsighted and backs away a few feet. The taller one shoots a questioning glance at the other but does not budge. His grip tightens on his club. He is missing the thumb on that hand; it will make his swing weaker.
     The woman shrinks away from all of us. Her hair—loose and long, brown and bedraggled—droops around her face. Her pale flesh is a map of bruises.
     "What do you want?" The thumbless man sneers. His teeth are blackened.
     "Let the woman go." I flick the venom-wet tip of my knife toward her, allowing him a good look at my weapon and how I handle it.
     "She's ours," he says.
     The small man hisses and tugs on the other’s sleeve. He is ignored.
     I hold my blade loosely, but if my stare were a spear, the thumbless one would be missing his eyes by now. I tamp down my fury.
     "Women do not belong to men," I say, "any more than the sun belongs to the inferior moon."
     "This one does.” He steps over and grabs the woman by the hair. As he does, his gaze finally falls where all men’s eventually do: my body. His tongue snakes out of his mouth, licking cracked and bleeding lips. "And you will, too, sweeting."
     The small man yanks desperately on the other man's arm now. Sweat beads on his brow. "Don't you know that paint and the colored feather, cocklebrain? She's a Fire Sister."
     The other’s eyes fly open as he takes me in again. His maimed hand twitches uncertainly.
     "We didn't know she was one of yours," the little one says to me, his voice respectful. His head dips low.
     "Weren't worth a loaf anyway," the tall one mutters.
     "She is not my Sister," I say. "But she is a woman, which makes her more valuable than both of you together. Now release her and drop your weapons."
     The little man complies instantly. Frowning, his partner follows after a moment. They huddle together, eyes on me. I move closer.
     "What are you gonna do?" the small one asks breathlessly. His eyes move everywhere except to my knife.
     Let them be afraid for their worthless lives. Gripping the taller man's shoulder, I bring the blade to his neck.

Author Bio:
A.G. Henley is the author of the BRILLIANT DARKNESS series. The first book in the series, THE SCOURGE, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award.

A.G. is also a clinical psychologist, which means people either tell her their life stories on airplanes, or avoid her at parties when they've had too much to drink. Neither of which she minds. When she's not writing fiction or shrinking heads, she can be found herding her children and their scruffy dog, Guapo, to various activities while trying to remember whatever she's inevitably forgotten to tell her husband. She lives in Denver, Colorado.


The Gatherer #2.5

The Scourge #1

The Keeper #1.5

The Defiance #2

The Fire Sisters(Coming September 25, 2015)

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Release Day Blitz: Starting Over by Erin Cristofoli

Title: Starting Over
Author: Erin Cristofoli
Genre: Erotic, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 21, 2015

“You can call me Sir”

Left with no option but to leave the only life she has ever known, Katherine White has packed up and moved almost three thousand kilometres for a chance at a new start, with a new job, in a new city.

When her best friend drags her to a masquerade party on only her second night in town, Kate has a chance encounter with a mysterious masked man that dominates her, pushes her limits and leaves her craving more. He tells her that there is no long-term in their future, but he wants to continue to explore their sexual chemistry. The only trouble is, he wants their identities to remain a mystery.

Benjamin Hyde has been burned by love and has vowed to never let another woman stomp on his heart. His days are filled with successful business ventures and his nights with one night stands at the club.

After reluctantly being dragged to a masquerade party by his best friend, Ben is surprised to find a girl that captivates him and he doesn’t hesitate to take control.

When Ben’s new assistant, Kate arrives on Monday morning, a glimpse of a tattoo on the back of her neck throws a wrench into his perfectly sorted world. Could Kate really be the woman that Ben had hooked up with?

Ben wants to pursue Kate, but she is adamant not to mix business with pleasure.

Normally Ben would agree, except when it comes to Kate.

Letting out a yelp, I closed my eyes and tried to prepare myself for the fall, but nothing happened. Instead, I peeked through squinted eyes to find myself plastered to the chest I had run into, feeling a strong arm wrapped around my waist. My hands were splayed across the man’s pec, and I couldn’t help but flex my fingers slightly, feeling the muscle beneath the shirt. Wow.

 “Are you all right?” a rich, gravelly voice above me asked. I blinked and realized just how close I was to the perfect stranger, and tried to add some distance, but his hand remained firmly on my hip.

 “Yes, thanks to you… just a little unsteady.” I looked up and found myself stunned, looking into the eyes of the man who had been watching me dance.

Author Bio:
Erin  was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, where she resides with her husband and two kids.

She is a stay-at-home mom and has long dreamed of having a published book of her own.

Starting Over is her debut romance novel.

When she isn’t writing, Erin​ has a love of most forms of art - painting, photography and crocheting.


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