Frankenstein – Movie or book?

When it comes to the classics, I tend to read – romance usually which means anything by Jane Austen. For this October, I wanted to go with a scary story so I decided to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I also have to mention a few more classic books turned into movies.

This brings me to the topic of movie or book? Our Frankenstein from the movies, is generally known as the black haired, hulking green guy with screws in his neck and stitching all over his body and (not to put too fine a point on it) stupid. But reading the original story of Frankenstein, I was amused and slightly horrified that there was so few descriptors of what Dr. Frankenstein’s monster really looked like. There were only four real clues as to this creature: black hair, straight teeth, 8 feet tall, and a hand like a mummy. This doesn’t quite sound like the Frankenstein that we’ve dressed our kids as for many many Halloweens. Apparently, the movie version was grotesque enough that it has lived on in our imaginations as the creature that Mary Shelley dreamt up in her book. I’m not sure I’m ashamed that I haven’t seen the original movie but pop culture has trained us on how this monster should look and act. I say I was horrified because after so many years of watching each new evolution of movie Frankenstein, no one wants to move away from this type of creature and imagine an alternate version with the same 4 characteristics that Shelley gave us in her book. And if they did, would we as a group, accept it as such? What do you think?

Continuing with horror stories, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was both an amazing novel and a scary movie. The movie definitely had more of a sensual air to it and the book more of a thriller mystery but it was close enough. I have to say that I really enjoyed both but preferred the movie for it’s sheer theatricality. And for some reason, the descriptions of dracula in the book were either not lacking or close enough to our pop culture image of a vampire that it didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

A more recent movie/classic book combo is John Carter/ Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have to consider these separately because they are so different. The premise is the same: a man goes into a cave and gets transported to Mars where he meets a princess. Wacky hijinks ensue and the fall in love. Then man gets transported back to earth to endlessly for a way back to Mars and his princess. I won’t hesitate to say that I was always leery of reading Edgar Rice Burroughs and only because of his name! It’s rather a mouthful. After watching John Carter, I decided to tackle the books and I loved them even if they were a bit long winded – but that was the style of writing back then, no?

Of course, reading is always an education and I discovered that Burroughs also wrote Tarzan which I read and enjoyed but I can’t remember well enough the Tarzan TV show that I watched as a kid and remember so fondly. As I am typing away, I’m thinking that some archetypes will just stay with us forever where others are more transitory. I just don’t think that Edward Cullen and his sparkly skin will ever replace Dracula as the vampire archetype and I haven’t yet seen any new Frankensteins worth changing the norm. Does it matter that movies and television make such drastic interpretations of these creatures? Probably not to Mary Shelley but maybe to Stephanie Meyers who put much more emphasis on appearance.

Regardless, I am big movie fan I know I won’t be stopped from watching the movie because I don’t agree with the amount of “artistic license” taken. And maybe this is all a moot point with so many of the authors nowadays being involved in the development of the movie. If you haven’t read any of the above mentioned titles, please do. Yes, they take longer to read then your modren day horror novel or sci-fi but they are totally worth it. AND you get to say “Why,, yes, I do read the classics!” Happy Halloween everyone!

September at-a-glance

September turned out to be romance month. My list, as you will see, is heavy on that subject and was a lot of fun. Historical, contemporary, fantasy. It’s all there as well as some steampunk to mix things up. Here are most of the books that I was able to fit into this very busy September (see my other September posts for the rest). And, BONUS! many of them are either free or very inexpensive! I hope you find something to your liking. Happy Reading!

The Abducted Heart by Jennifer Blake – A young woman in the catering business gets accidentally “abducted” by her client who didn’t realize she was still on board his plane when it took off. What ensued was one of those situations where neither party wanted to openly admit their attraction or love for the other and caused pain on both ends. I wasn’t able to really get into these characters because the way it was written all but screamed 70’s era but the grandmother I really enjoyed.

A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton  – Annie, a widow, is pulling herself away from the brink of bankruptcy due to her husband’s gambling debts when she meets Sam who has come to her small town to hide out from his former employer. Instant chemistry happens between the two and they easily fall in love. Neither shares their past so when the men in suits arrive, everything they didn’t know about each other becomes public knowledge. I really enjoyed this story. Bretton painted a very detailed description of the northeast and the small town characters as well as some really interesting main characters.

The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener – The second and last in this fantasy series. This story brings Soren and female sorceress Mirabelle into the story where the his brother Rane’s and Kayla’s story left off in the Golden Apple. I was glad Diener wrote this book because not only was the Golden Apple really enjoyable, I was not liking Soren in that book. This story gave him more essence and showed his character in a much better light. Mirabelle was very interesting too as the only female sorceress in this fantasy world. The copy I read was an uncorrected ARC so I am explaining any confusion away for that reason. I would highly recommend reading these books back to back if possible in order to keep the supporting characters straight. Otherwise, a great set of books.

The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand - If you haven’t figured it out already, I have a thing about baking. Which is why, when I saw the title of this book, I had to get it. It is a regency romance where the father and owner of a tea and cake shop is being knighted for his delicious treats. His eldest daughter, Alys, has always been happy working at the shop baking and decorating the celebration cakes but once her father is knighted, he fires her and intends to make her marry. Thrown into the mix is the Marquess of Hatbrook, Michael Shield who has his own love affair with sweet treats and stumbles upon Alys in the shop one day. One chance encounter leads to another and suddenly they  are in love but unwilling to admit it etc. This was just a fun story to read with good writing and character development. It was interesting that Ms. Hiestand chose to afflict the Marquess with diabetes.

To Kill A Warlock by H.P. Mallory – For those of you who enjoy fun paranormal mystery stories, and haven’t read H.P. Mallory you must. This particular book is about Dulcie O’Neill, a “regulator” basically a cop for the paranormal species. The story takes place over just a few weeks of Dulcie’s life while she’s trying to solve a murder and gotten wrangled into working with their Relations Office (think Internal Affairs). The story is rife with sexy men from Elves to Vampires a new creature Dulcie didn’t know existed in the form of Knightly Vander, her temporary, new superior from the Relations Office. I really enjoyed Dulcie’s character and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Amanda Rosa by Karen Robards  – Another historical romance. Amanda Rose has been placed in ta convent by her elder half brother and he’s just written that he’s found a husband for her. She takes a midnight walk to think through her plight and stumbles across Matthew Grayson, a wanted criminal who will die if she doesn’t help him. Against her best judgement, and along with a lot of frightening threats from this criminal, she helps him recover from his injuries. They become lovers but are discovered by her brother. This story is about a couple of people with a lot of secrets. I found this tale engrossing and well written. Karen Robards is always a good bet for a nice romance.

Steel Lily by Megan Curd – This book sadly, was a bit disappointing. I really like steampunk which is how this book began but as soon as Avery left her steampunkish Dome, it became more dystopian romance. Avery thought she was leaving her Dome to have a better life but she was really walking into a prettier version of jail. Love interest Jaxon was not described as someone I would think sexy – dredlocks don’t do it for me – so whenever they were mentioned, it broke my concentration. There was a lot of potential here and I think a less mature reader would probably enjoy it much more than I did.

Saved by Lorhainne Eckhart – This story is about Abby, a woman adrift in the ocean and who gets rescued, literally saved, by a US naval Destroyer. Captain Eric, a well-known chauvinist and womanizer falls for this guileless young woman and she for him but neither admits how deep the attraction goes. The Captain comes under investigation for sexual harassment and Abby saves him by being a witness to his innocence. Thus, they save each other. I wish this story had delved into more detail regarding the girl’s plight but this story mostly dwelt on military protocol which was still very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t love either character much because of the lack of depth overall. This is a series and it was obviously written with that intent. Since the writing was good, I might be convinced to read the next book in order to find out if the characters develop any further depth.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane EyreI saved the best for last! If you haven’t yet read about the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester, you must! Click the link below NOW! The story begins with Jane as a young orphan living in her uncle’s home. He is deceased and her aunt has no love for her and neither do her cousins. She is sent off to an institution to be educated and at long last she becomes the governess to a child at Thornfield, home of Mr. Rochester. Over the course of several months, they fall in love but Jane feels she must part with him and runs off into the night. That is only half of Jane’s story and not close to doing it justice. The writing is amazing and very easily understood (I’m comparing to Anna Karenina and Jane Austen’s novels). Jane and Rochester are a delight to read. Their banter was witty and unique and so full of their own personalities, it was a joy to read. Once you read this classic novel, you’ll realize how many authors don’t put nearly enough personality into their characters. I loved this story and it will forever be one of my favorites. Jane Eyre