Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday's Film Adaptions: Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

Hailey and Claire are spending their last summer together when they discover something at the bottom of the murky pool at the Capri Beach Club. There in the depths is a mysterious and beautiful creature with a sharp tongue and a broken heart: a mermaid named Aquamarine who has left her six sisters to search for love on land. Now, as this mythological yet very real being starts to fade in the burning August sun, a rescue is begun.

On the edge of growing up, during a summer that is the hottest on record, Hailey and Claire are discovering that life can take an unpredictable course, friendship is forever, and magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

The next day, as soon as they got out of Hailey's mother's car in the parking lot, Hailey was the one who took charge. After all, she'd been the one to see the mermaid at the bottom of the pool, huddled in a murky corner, her long hair streaming. Claire wouldn't have ventured into the water for any reason, not even to see such a wondrous being

As they went through the entranceway to the Capri Beach Club, Hailey handed her friend a jar she'd stored in her backpack. Claire held the jar up to the light and tried her best to figure out what the slippery-looking things were inside.

"Herring," Hailey told her when Claire couldn't venture a guess. "It's a kind of marinated fish. I found it in the back of the pantry. Mermaids must get hungry. All we need to do is hide behind the diving board, and when she comes to the surface to eat, we can study her."

"Good plan," Claire said. At any other time, Claire would have been the one to come up with the plans, but lately she'd been up half the night, thinking about how her sweaters and boots would be pointless in Florida, and how the leaves wouldn't change in the fall, and how it would be summer all year long.

Hailey, herself, was somewhat surprised to find that she'd actually been the one with the ideas. "You really think it's a good plan?" she asked uncertainly.

"Excellent," Claire said, although she, too, was surprised at how quickly everything was changing already, even though it was still the same.

After they'd sprinkled the herring in the pool, the girls waited behind the diving board. Jellyfish floated on the surface of the water, and a few bubbles arose up from the deep, but there was no sign of the mermaid. Hours passed and the girls didn't move. Time was so slow, and the air was so hot, they almost fell asleep.

When they didn't show up at the snack bar for lunch, Raymond came looking for them.

"What happened to my only customers?" he asked. "I was worried. I thought the seagulls had carried you away."

Raymond sat on the edge of a lounge chair and gazed into the pool. He was so handsome that for a few minutes the girls forgot there was a mermaid nearby.

"What a disaster," Raymond said, looking around the beach club. "I should have taken a different job this summer, but I guess I got used to this place."

When he'd first come to the Capri, he'd been the assistant to the assistant cook at the snack bar, and at lunch time they'd all had to work like crazy just to fill the orders of hamburgers and sandwiches and fries. There were crowds of people and the air smelled like coconut-scented sunscreen. Not a single one of the chaise lounges would have been empty on a beautiful day such as this. But that was all in the past.

"I don't want it to end," Raymond admitted.

"We know," the girls said at the very same time. "Neither do we."

"Don't forget to come by and have a lemonade. My treat," Raymond said as he started back to the snack bar. "After all, there are only a few days left to the summer."

Hailey had always noticed that Raymond often read two books at a time, and Claire had always noticed that he was so kindhearted, he fed day-old bread to the seagulls that followed him as though he were their favorite person on earth. Now they both could tell he was almost as sad as they were about the Capri closing.

The girls had been watching Raymond so intently, it was a while before they realized that a mermaid had surfaced at the shallow end of the pool. Her hair was pale and silvery and her nails were a shimmering blue. Between each finger there was a thin webbing, of the sort you might find on a newborn seal or a duck.

"What are you two staring at?" the mermaid said, when she turned and saw the girls gaping.

Her voice was as cool and fresh as bubbles rising from the ocean. She was as beautiful as a pearl, with a faint turquoise tinge to her skin and eyes so blue they were the exact same color as the deepest sea. But her watery beauty didn't mean the mermaid knew her manners.

"Stop looking at me," she demanded, as she splashed at the girls. "Go away!"

The mermaid's name was Aquamarine and she was much ruder than most creatures you might find at sea. At sixteen, she was the youngest of seven sisters, and had always been spoiled. She'd been indulged and cared for and allowed to act up in ways no self-respecting mermaid ever would.

Her disagreeable temperament certainly hadn't improved after spending two nights in the pool, tossed there like a stone or a sea urchin at the height of the terrible storm. Chlorine had seeped into her sensitive skin and silver scales dropped from her long, graceful tail. She hadn't eaten anything more than a mouthful of that horrible herring the girls had strewn into the pool.

"You heard me," Aquamarine said to Hailey and Claire, who were mesmerized by her gleaming tail and by the way the mermaid could dive so quickly, she disappeared in a luminous flash. When she surfaced through the seaweed she was not pleased to see they were still there. "Scram," she said. "Stop bothering me."

The mermaid glided into the deep end of the pool, the better to see Raymond at the snack bar. She had been watching him ever since she found herself stranded in the pool. His was the first human face she saw. She gazed at him with a bewildered expression, the sure sign of a mermaid in love.

"They're closing the Capri at the end of the week. The pool is going to be drained," Hailey called to Aquamarine. "You're going to have to go back to where you came from by Saturday."

The mermaid started to pay attention. "Where will the people go?"

"What people?" Hailey said. "Everyone's already gone except for us."

"Not exactly." Claire nodded toward Raymond. "Not everyone."

"He's going on Saturday, too," Hailey said. "He's leaving for college."

As soon as Aquamarine heard this, she began to cry blue, freshwater tears. No mermaid wants to fall in love with a human, but it was already too late for poor Aquamarine to be sensible. A sensible mermaid never would have wandered away from her sisters during a storm the way Aquamarine had.

As for Hailey and Claire, they couldn't know that a mermaid in love is far more irrational than a jellyfish and more stubborn than a barnacle. "You'll just have to go back to the ocean," they advised her.

"I'm not going anywhere." Aquamarine's pale complexion flushed blue as she pouted. "I won't leave before I meet him."

Up at the snack bar, Raymond was whistling a tune as he cleaned up the counter. Aquamarine tilted her head to listen, hearkening to what she clearly believed was the most beautiful melody anyone had ever been privileged to hear, either on land or at sea.

"Oh," she sighed as she watched Raymond. Her elbows rested on the edge of the pool. Her sea-blue eyes were dreamy. "If he only knew how I felt about him."

"I really don't think he's your type," Claire said as politely as she could.

Aquamarine looked stricken. She had never been denied anything she wanted. "Of course he is," she said.

"Well, for one thing, he lives on land," Hailey reminded the mermaid.

"You are both so mean," Aquamarine cried. "You're meaner than my sisters, and probably just as jealous."

Since she'd been swept up by the storm and set down at the Capri, Aquamarine had felt a taste of freedom. More important than the terrible food and the chlorinated pool was the idea that she could do whatever she pleased. She tossed her head and fixed the girls with her sea-blue eyes. "No one can tell me what to do anymore. Not my sisters and certainly not you. Anyway, it's too late. I've already made up my mind. I'm staying right here for as long as I want to. And no one can tell me otherwise!"

At the end of the day, the girls ran to Claire's grandfather's car and when he said "What's new, Susie Q's?" they let out a gale of giggles, convinced that no one would believe that they'd stumbled upon a mermaid who refused to behave. When they got to Claire's grandparents' house, they raced past the half-packed boxes in the living room and looked through the crates of books in Claire's room, hoping to find a solution for Aquamarine's predicament. Although they discovered references to many unusual creatures of the deep, from dolphins that were said to rescue lost sailors to sea-serpents twice the size of a whale, they couldn't unearth a single bit of advice on what to do with a mermaid who'd fallen in love.

Claire and Haley, two 13-year-old best friends, embark on the adventure of their lives when they discover a mermaid named Aquamarine in a swimming pool. Aquamarine had washed ashore after a big storm battered the small town Florida beach club where Claire lives with her grandparents.

Release Date: March 3, 2006
Release Time: 110 minutes

Sara Paxton as Aquamarine
JoJo as Hailey Rogers
Emma Roberts as Claire Brown
Jake McDorman as Raymond
Arielle Kebbel as Cecilia Banks
Claudia Karvan as Ginny Rogers
Bruce Spence as Leonard
Tammin Sursok as Marjorie
Roy Billing as Grandpa Bob
Julia Blake as Grandma Maggie
Shaun Micallef as Storm Banks
Lulu McClatchy as Bonnie
Natasha Cunningham as Patty
Dichen Lachman as Beth
Lincoln Lewis as Theo
Julia Blake as Jessica

Author Bio:
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day" a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.




Cover Reveal: Castle Wolves Series by Melissa Kendall

Author: Melissa Kendall
Series: Castle Wolves #1-3
Genre: Erotic, Paranormal Romance
Cover Design: Tibbs Design

No Such Thing as Can't #1
After a string of failed relationships, thirty-five-year-old Madeline Majors worries her life will never be complete. Her obsession with having a child and her inability to conceive even though a multitude of doctors have said there is nothing medically wrong with her drives her to Madame Evangeline as her last resort.

Garth Summers is a shape shifter with a problem. As Alpha of his pack, he must have an heir by the time he is fifty years of age or a new alpha is chosen from the eligible males in the pack. But as a wolf shifter, he can only conceive with his mate who he has yet to find. With only six weeks remaining, he turns to Madame Eve for help.

Can a one-night stand bring two people the one thing they most desperately want, or will the reality of what they are send them both running?

What She Needs #2
Elizabeth Summers is sick of being the baby sister of Garth the pack alpha. Her brother, with the help of his best friends, has taken it upon himself to scare off every guy who has ever shown any interest in her. With a little nudge from her sister-in-law, she decides to seek Madame Eve’s help to give her one night of pure pleasure.

Ernest (Brute) Chalmers is Castle Wolves’ pack enforcer and best friend of Garth. Out of respect for his friend, he has kept his feelings for Garth’s sister a secret. But when he over hears Lizzie talking about signing up for a 1Night Stand, he decides if he doesn’t make his move, he might miss out on his chance at love. Can Brute prove he has what it takes to meet Lizzie’s needs? Or will she send him packing for good?

Not What He Thought #3
Mason Taylor is beta of the Castle Wolves pack. Most people would describe him as a skirt chasing manwhore but in reality it had been years since he found any kind of satisfaction with a woman. Like his Alpha was, he is lonely and wants desperately to meet his mate. After seeing his Alpha find love and happiness through Madame Eve he decides to give it a try. He gives Madame Eve just one instruction - find him his soul mate. The moment he walks into the room, he catches his dates scent and knows instantly they are his mate. When he sees the person though he is shocked there has to be some mistake.

Sebastian Cooke has always known he was gay but growing up in the wilds of Alaska, he has always found it hard to truly be himself. After his friend and fellow pilot, Kate, suggests he give 1NS a try he figures he has nothing left to lose. The last person he is expecting to show up in his hotel room is Mason Taylor.

Can two men get over the preconceived notion of who each other is to find the love they have been desperately looking for?

No Such Thing as Can't
She was on her way to the bathroom to pee again for the umpteenth time when a knock sounded on the door. Still a few minutes, but he could be early. She walked to the door and checked the peephole. A broad, muscled torso wearing a light-blue button-down and navy coat was all she could see.

Holy crap! 

She checked her appearance one last time in the mirror on the door then pulled it open. Tall at five foot nine inches, but even she had to tilt her head back to see the face of the man standing in front of her. If someone asked her to describe her dream man, they would have gotten a picture of this guy. His wide brown eyes were so dark they were almost black, and his square jaw bore the perfect light dusting of hair. He stood a good head and shoulders taller than her, so he had to be at least six and a half feet tall. And oh, the muscles. He may still be clothed, but not an ounce of fat marred his trim figure.

“Hi,” she said after ogling her fill.

“Hi,” he replied. Only a single syllable but the deep baritone of his voice was like a caress of her most intimate places. If she’d worn panties, they’d be ruined. “Are you Madeline Majors?”

“Yes. I take it you’re Garth Summers.” He nodded. She held out her hand. “Nice to meet you.” Instead of shaking her hand, he grasped and turned it palm up then brought his lips down in the gentlest of pecks. If she didn’t know any better, she would have thought he’d sucked on her clit the way desire ricocheted from the tips of her fingers all the way down to her toes.

“Very nice to meet you, too.” He straightened. “May I come in?”

Maddy almost slapped herself in the forehead for being such a dunce. “Of course. Please.” She stepped back to make way for him to enter.

Garth walked past her, his arm brushing her chest. Her nipples hardened to tight peaks, eager for him to repeat the touch. Whether the contact had been on purpose or not, she was in for one hell of a night if their interactions so far offered any indication.

Thank you, Madame Eve.

Author Bio:
Melissa Kendall is a forty-year-old mother of two from Perth, Western Australia, the second-most isolated capital city in the world. Predominantly a stay-at-home mum, she works a few hours a week as a software support consultant. She has always loved to read and write, and spent most of her teens writing poetry and short stories. Over the years, daily life got in the way and she lost the passion for it, but after the birth of her first child, Melissa discovered e-books and her interest in writing rekindled. She is now the author of four published short stories. Matronly Duties is her first full-length novel.


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Cocktails and Lies by Lynette Sofras

Title: Cocktails and Lies
Author: Lynette Sofras
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: July 22, 2016
When Hannah’s house is burgled, she gains as much as she loses: she meets Jan, her reserved Dutch neighbour and successful antiques dealer, and Callum, the detective in charge of the case, then finds some hidden letters to her dead grandmother that take her on an emotional journey of discovery.

As Hannah juggles the attentions of the two men now firmly in her life, she works to uncover the secrets of the past, only to find these encroach on the present in unexpected ways.

And then there are the two men in her life, both vying for her attention, both hiding things from her and each other. What does Callum really know about Jan? What is Jan hiding from everyone? And what did her grandmother—whose house it once was—hide from the world?

As if Hannah doesn’t have enough mysteries to solve, her best friend Rachel enlists her help in solving her marital crisis, while her pleasure-seeking mother seems intent on finding her a husband.

With so many skeletons rattling the door of Hannah’s house, can she unravel these mysterious threads and reveal the truth, changing her life forever?

“Have you seen any more of your Good Samaritan neighbour?”

I caught the hint of sarcasm in his tone.

“No, but then, as you no doubt established, he probably has a better view of my house from his balcony than I do of his apartment.”

He raised an eyebrow and I’m sure I detected a fleeting spark of amusement in his light brown eyes. “The reason I ask is that I understand his auction house has a substantial art deco collection catalogued in the next public auction. If I’m right, that’s scheduled for next Wednesday. I thought he might have told you, in case you wanted to replace some of your stolen items.”

The sting hit like a double whammy. In the first place, hearing this from him, rather than Jan hurt, and the second pain—a more prolonged ache—was the guilt at not protecting my grandmother’s treasures better. I felt I’d lost a part of her that I wish I could have preserved. Replacing her material legacy was not high on my agenda, but no one seemed to understand that. The house felt that bit emptier without them, but replacing them with similar items would not make that any better. I needed the original items back, not copies. And that’s when it struck me.

Grandma’s stolen pieces were not the sort of items that were going to be melted down and made into a different form. They weren’t great works of art, but they were genuine collectors’ items that had value to someone in the art world. My grandmother had left them to us, to my mother, my sister and me with love. They belonged here, in Grandma’s house and that’s exactly where they should be returned. Now I had a mission, to hunt down my grandmother’s legacy item by item, and return everything to its rightful place.


I sat back in my seat, gave my upper lip a surreptitious swipe with my finger to make sure there was no froth on it, and looked into his friendly eyes.

“Perhaps I never really felt a sense of ownership to my grandmother’s belongings. The burglars didn’t take anything of mine—not that I have that much that would interest them anyway, or anything to which I have any great attachment. As you pointed out, they left a fairly valuable ring behind, so all they wanted was Grandma Elouise’s stuff. She had some lovely antiques and art deco pieces. I might never have bought them myself, but she left them in my custody when she left me her house, so it’s like I’ve let her down by allowing them to be stolen. And that’s what makes me angry. Does that make any sense to you at all?”

He sat watching me for quite a while, before picking up his cup and taking another swig of coffee. At last, he nodded. “Yes, I think so. But I also think a burglary invokes a kind of grieving process, and you’re still very much in the early stages of it.”

That made me laugh out loud. “I’m familiar with the stages of grieving. I deal with grief a lot in my line of work, remember. I’m not grieving; I’m just furious that some low-life broke into my house and stole my grandmother’s treasures. And I want to get them back. That’s all there is to it.” I knew anger was the second stage of the grieving process, but so what?

He smiled, not in the least offended by my outburst and asked in what sounded like a teasing voice, “And do you have an M.O.?”

I shrugged again. That’s not a habit I want to develop, since I've always considered it looks uncouth. “Not a definitive one, as yet. But I have a mother with the nose of a bloodhound, a friend who deals in antiques, another friend with contacts in the seedy criminal underbelly and a loss adjuster’s absolute best friend, the Internet.”

When he laughed, I couldn’t help noticing his good teeth. Nice and white and even. “So I’m your friendly neighbourhood copper now, am I?” he asked.

“Hmm… maybe. I’m working on it, anyway.”

Author Bio:
A former teacher, Lynette gave up her career in education a few years ago in order to focus on her writing and thus fulfil her childhood dream. She writes contemporary women's fiction, often involving romance with suspense or a supernatural twist. She claims 'Killing Jenna Crane', a romantic thriller and 'Unworkers' a modern ghost story/women's fiction are her personal favourites to date. Her latest release 'The Nightclub' is a romance packed with suspense. You can find more details of her novels on her website.


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