Mini Review: “Of Dubious and Questionable Memory” novella by Rachel McMillan

This little novella by Rachel McMillan, book number 1.5 in her Herringford and Watts Mysteries series, deserves a mini review! So, read on for my thoughts.

Of Dubious and Questionable Memory (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #1.5)Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan

Yet again, a fun and cozy little mystery from Rachel McMillan. Classic Jem & Merinda antics. Sweet Ray. A chicken, motorized bicycles, & a trip to the US!!!! Specifically, Concord and Orchard House, with a nod to Little Women and other notable historical figures. Fans of mystery, history, or the previous books in this series will love this little glimpse into what’s going on with the Herringford and Watts girls.

My review of other in the series:

A Singular & Whimsical Problem (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #.5)

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysterys #1)

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Period Dramas

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Period Dramas

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s topic is open-ended: 10 reasons you love _______. So, I’m taking the opportunity to ramble in delight over period dramas, whether they be film, television, or series productions.

Top 10 Reasons I Love Period Dramas

The Young Victoria. So many amazing costumes! AND it is a true story!

The Young Victoria. So many amazing costumes!

1. History

As a fan of both history and historical fiction, what better way to combine story and facts than a period drama?

2. Costumes

Cravats.

Cravats.

Style HAS certainly changed over time, and it’s fascinating. I’m thankful to live in a modern era where comfy pants are acceptable. But I love seeing the elegance and class of past eras. And cravats. Need I say more?

3. Musical Scores

Essential to enhancing a story, if you ask me! I spent a previous topic talking about some of my favorites.

William & Georgiana (James Norton & Eleanor Tomlinson) in Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries

William & Georgiana in Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries

4. Various Story Formats

Series, movie, miniseries. All great for different reasons.

5. Often adapted from books

Books + visual representation of setting + amazing casting = perfect recipe for a perfect period drama.

The Bennett sisters.... I love the way they are portrayed in P&P 2005!

The Bennett sisters…. I love the way they are portrayed in P&P 2005!

6. Portrayal of Relationships

For some reason, period dramas tend to have a better grip on relationships — or at least they emphasize them. And I’m not talking about romantic relationships, but friendship, sibling, or parent-child ones. Think Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables, or the Bennet sisters in Pride & Prejudice, or the closeness of Jo March and Marmee in Little Women. Maybe it’s because our life is more complex now due to technology and travel, but fewer modern stories can emphasize and portray relationships with such gravity.

Heath Ledger & Mel Gibson in "The Patriot". A favorite film set during the American Revolution.

Heath Ledger & Mel Gibson in “The Patriot”. A favorite film set during the American Revolution.

 

 

 

7. Love Stories

Call them chick flicks if you want, but I am a huge fan of love stories. And classifying a production as a period drama almost guarantees some part of the story will involve characters finding love and, hopefully, happiness. Which brings me to….

 

Little Women

Little Women

8. Happily-Ever-Afters!

Yes, I’m aware that not every period drama ends with a happily ever after scene. And that’s ok, I still like some of those! But I’m a sucker for a good ending. Or at least one that offers hope and maybe leaves you wondering about the rest.

 

 

 

9. Variety of Sub-Genres

Mystery, suspense, war, drama, romance, comedy, true stories.

North and South 2004. Drama, love, & social commentary in my favorite miniseries.

North and South 2004. Drama, love, & social commentary in my favorite miniseries.

10. Vocabulary

A little item, yes, but SO important. Language and vocabulary are two more things that have changed so much with time. It’s so interesting to be reminded how people spoke.

Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey adaptation.

Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey adaptation.

And, sometimes learning new words is a fun bonus! Examples: Plimsolls, quixotic, taciturn.

 

 

 

 

It’s your turn! Why do YOU like period dramas? Or do you prefer another genre of film/TV? Please share your thoughts below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Music & Books (or, my favorite music from book to screen adaptations)

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s theme is books we’d give theme songs to or songs we wish were books. Well, I’m stretching it a bit and going with my favorite instrumental music from book adaptations. If music with no words is not usually your thing, I get it. I really do. But, trust me here, you might just be captivated by the emotion and beauty in some of these themes.

 

Top Instrumental Music from Book Adaptations

1. Poldark by Winston Graham – “Theme from Poldark” composed by Anne Dudley (BBC series)

2. Emma by Jane Austen – “Knightley’s Walk” composed by Samuel Sim (2009 BBC series)

3. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – “Northbound Train” composed by Martin Phipps (2004 BBC series)

4. & 5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – “Mrs. Darcy” and “Leaving Netherfield” composed by Dario Marianelli (2005 Focus Features film)


6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – “Orchard House” composed by Thomas Newman (1994 Columbia film)

7. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper – “Main Title” composed by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman (1992 Fox film)

8. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – “Tara’s Theme” composed by Max Steiner (1939 MGM film)

9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – “My Father’s Favorite” composed by Patrick Doyle (1995 Sony Film)

10. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans – “The Rhythm of the Horse” composed by Thomas Newman (1998 Buena Vista film)

What are some of your favorite series/film themes or scores? Have you seen any of these? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Little Women Read-Along Part 1 (ch 1-17) Questions

We’re a little over 10 days into the Little Women Read-Along and it’s already time for the first discussion questions post! Ahh! I can’t believe we are this far into the book already.

littlewomenreadalong

This week, Suey is hosting the part 1 post and has come up with some awesome questions for all of us. We’ve made it through chapter 17 now!

(For more about our read-along and our schedule, visit my earlier post here.)

1. What are your opinions so far about each of the girls? Do you identify more with one or the other of them? Do you like them, or do they get on your nerves in a way? Which one do you think would be your friend?

Meg is sweet and takes her role as oldest sister seriously, though she struggles with pride and vanity (which does barely get on my nerves). Jo is dramatic and impulsive (which sometimes gets her in trouble), yet brings a playful spirit of leadership to the family, too. Beth is the shy and gentle caregiver who never seems to complain, though I think she deals with pain in her own way. Amy definitely acts the part of the youngest child, trying to tag along or fit in with her older sisters yet showing her own immaturity sometimes.

I think I identify more with Jo and Beth (though I am the baby of my family). They would be my friends 🙂

2.What do you think of Mrs. March aka. Marmee? What’s one of your favorite pieces of advice or lessons she’s taught the girls so far?

Marmee is my favorite!!!! I love how Louisa May Alcott has portrayed her as a leader and as influential in each of the girls’ lives, as a mother should be. With that influence, we also see her vulnerability and profession of flaws. She has offered some great advice already, but I think my favorite is from chapter 16, just before she goes to Mr. March in the hospital:

“Don’t grieve and fret when I am gone, or think that you can be idle and comfort yourselves by being idle and trying to forget. Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace. Hope and keep busy, and whatever happens, remember that you never can be fatherless.”

And, this quote for Meg is of note:

“Learn to know and value the praise which is worth having, and to excite the admiration of excellent people by being modest as well as pretty, Meg.”

3 .Do you think that the characterization of these girls and this family is realistic? Explain.

I think each girl has a distinct personality and voice in the book (especially noticeable when reading their thoughts/writings/letters). Bravo to Alcott for her skills! They are, perhaps, over-dramatized in some cases. But maybe it’s because this story was meant to appeal to young women? I’m not sure who the intended audience was, but that’s my guess. The melodrama would make it clearer to a younger reader the flaws and virtues of the characters.

4. What’s your favorite scene or incident so far? And why?

I’m not sure! Maybe the evening spent on the hill with Laurie reading while each girl was occupied with needlework/drawing. That was a peaceful scene, and their discussions of each one’s “little castle” was telling of their personal character. AND, somewhat foreshadowing of things to come.

5. If this is your second (or third etc.) time reading this story, what stands out to you this time?

It’s my first!

6. If this is your first time reading this story, is it meeting your expectations? Or is it different than expected? Explain.

Yes, it is definitely meeting my expectations!!! It is possibly better than I expected. It has been easier reading than I thought it would b. I am pleased with how each chapter is almost a vignette or scene from their daily life instead of all combining with 1 central plot or purpose.

7. How do you feel about Jo cutting off her hair? Was this incident surprising to you? Do you think it’s symbolic of anything?

It didn’t surprise me, because I have seen the 1994 movie adaptation countless times. (side note: I am impressed with how true it stayed to the book *so far*). I think it could be considered a sign of Jo growing up a little, realizing and acting on her ability to help her family.

8. What’s your feeling about the inclusion of poems, letters, stories, plays and etc. into the story? 

I like them! They make the story even more unique and add perspective.

9. Any thoughts in particular on the male characters in this story?

Hmm. They seem to be secondary! I like Laurie and think he is good for the March family. He is their connection to a higher class of people, yet is not proud or affected. He is a true friend. Mr. Laurence is very devoted and sweet, especially to Beth, which makes me happy.

10. Are you liking this reading experience? If yes, why? If not, why?

Yes! It’s so much fun to participate in a read along, especially for a “classic”. I have more motivation to read it that way. And, the discussions are always insightful.

 

That’s it for my part 1 post! Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on Little Women. What are your opinions of this story so far?

February Read-Along: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

You’re invited to join a read-along of Little Women in February!!! Suey, Kami, and Jenny are hosting it on their blogs, with 3 scheduled Twitter and blog discussions. I’m very excited because I loved this format for last year’s North and South read-along.

littlewomenreadalong

I just *happened* to pick up a copy of Little Women for this read-along… and I can’t wait to get started! I grew up watching the 1994 movie version and have loved the March family for so long, but I’ve never read the book. (I think I did make it through a children’s version at one point).

If you have a blog, and want to join in, you can participate by posting your answers to the 3 rounds of discussion questions as we go.

And, if you want to chime in on Twitter, we’re using the hashtag #LittleWomenRAL!

Here’s the schedule and info from the original post by Suey:

Chapters 1-17 from February 1-10: Discussion post Feb. 10 on Suey’s blog
(Twitter chat Feb. 10 at 7:00 pm Mountain.)

Chapters 18-33 from February 11-19: Discussion post Feb. 19 on Kami’s blog
(Twitter Chat: Feb. 19 at 7:00 pm Mountain.)
Chapters 34-49 from February 20-29: Discussion post on Feb. 29 on Jenni’s blog
(Twitter Chat: Feb. 29 at 7:00 pm Mountain.)

Movie watching: March 4 or 5: We’ll let you know what day and what time as it gets closer.

We’ll be chatting and tweeting throughout the month using the hashtag #LittleWomenRAL. Please, let us know what you think as you read! That’s always so fun, the impromptu discussions!

Wednesday Wonderings, edition 4

It’s another “Wednesday Wonderings” question!

Wednesday Wonderings

What are your favorite book to film adaptations?

And by film, let’s say that miniseries count, too. From YA to classics, and everything in between, what works do you think have been adapted closely or the best?

Some book-to-movie adaptations are perfect, and some are just “visual aids” for their books. Here are a few that I think did an excellent job staying close to the book, or their adaptation interpreted the book in a way I LOVED.wpid-photogrid_1428888927817.jpg

Pride & Prejudice (2005 movie with Keira Knightley) One of my absolute favorite movies! Great cinematography, casting, and concise script to fit a movie time slot.

Little Women (1994 with Winona Ryder) The best story about sisters.

North & South (BBC miniseries, 2004) You knew this one would make my list, right? Such awesomeness in one series.

The Hunger Games (2012) Yes, I admit, I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence. It stayed fairly close to the original book, too.

Emma (BBC miniseries, 2009) Maybe a little more idealistic than Austen’s book, but definitely a fabulous interpretation.

Occasionally, the book is significantly better than the movie. I think that’s the case with The Last Song (2010). The book had much more likable characters and more depth.

What are your thoughts? Do you have favorite adaptations (or maybe some not-so-favorite?)?