Friday, February 28, 2014

Movie Review: Austenland

Disheartened with her life, Jane (Keri Russell) buys a travel package to England, where she will become a part of an Austenland experience in which the participants get to be the heroine of their own story. But soon the wacky 18th century flashback becomes a stage of confusion. What is real and what is not? Who is acting and who is in earnest?

As a conservative Austenite (I own five versions of Pride and Prejudice on DVD, but have only read 5 of the 7 Austen novels), I was excited when I saw a preview for a movie about an Austen addict! Unfortunately, this film lacked the finesse and wit one would expect from an Austentine piece. While it was at points entertaining, the majority of its humor is suggestive and crude, if not quite vulgar (the rating is PG-13, so this is to be expected). I am usually a fan of Keri Russell and was also excited to see JJ Field (BBC's Northanger Abbey) in the lineup, and both did a decent job in this film though their roles lacked depth, which could also be said of the movie as a whole. Jennifer Coolige (A Cinderella Story, Legally Blonde) was her usual hilariously clueless yet endearing self as "Elizabeth Charming", a participant in the charade who is more interested in hooking up with a guy than anything Jane Austen. Coolige supplied the bulk of the movie's laughs, but most of those laughs were accompanied by a shake of the head and the thought, "What in the world just happened?"

The film was farfetched, fluffy, occasionally touching and weirdly endearing. I'll go with 3 stars out of 5; but be warned, it's the sort of movie I could easily see many people hating. (And a caution to Austenites: don't expect anything too deep in the way of Austen, the only novel I remember being mentioned was Pride and Prejudice.)


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Review: The Governess of Highland Hall

Review for:
The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Julia Foster, who served as a missionary with her parents in India for many years, takes a job as governess to the children and two orphaned nieces of the respectable Baron, Sir William Ramsey. Life at Highland Hall proves rewarding as Julia grows to love the children and forms a friendship with Sir William's sister, Sarah, but she is met with opposition from some of the staff. Julia intends to return to India when her father recovers from the illness that brought them back to England, but matters become much more complicated when she discovers she has feelings for her employer. Can Julia and William cross the social divide in the name of love, or will William's honor and his desire to save Highland Hall from financial ruin prevent the two from being together?

As a Downton Abbey fan, I found this book to be a mediocre read. The plot seemed circular and the writing, while decent, often resorted to clich├ęs. The characters were likeable but I had a difficult time really sympathizing with them, though I did admire Julia's upright character and strong faith throughout. I'm sorry to say there was little that prompted me to keep on reading. It was okay, it just wasn't great. three out of five stars.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Mind-Bloggling Matter

In the lasting words of Charlotte the spider, Salutations!

I have not been blogging much lately because I am in a bit of a bind. For some time I have been contemplating the possibility of starting another blog. Not a replacement for Writelicious, mind you, but a second, unrelated blog.

The purpose of Writelicious, when I created it, was mainly to share thoughts from a Christian writer/reader viewpoint, but as it turns out I blog about a somewhat wide range of matters (that is, when I actually do blog). I hesitate to say "New Years resolution", but I would like to do more blogging this year, and I hope to remain faithful to that desire.

If I created a second blog what would set it apart from this one? My second blog would be ministry focused. I would share thoughts on current events, encouragement-- especially for women, and post bible studies on it.

While Writelicious would remain, of course, Christian-driven, I would maintain a more literary and professional focus here. I am not saying I want to separate my religion from my profession, but I am thinking that this approach may be more organized and if I give myself a specific focus for each blog I MAY be more inspired to blog more (I know that doesn't make sense, but I just might).

Here are my current thoughts: since I have not done such a good job at keeping up with this blog, I should continue to post a variety of content on here, and if I am faithful at that, will then consider the second blog. Naturally, I will also be and have been praying about the matter.

If you would like the participate, I would like your thoughts and advice as well. So, if I may, I'd like to pose a few questions (please be completely honest [I accept constructive criticism]):

If I created a second, ministry related blog with women being the main target audience, would you read it, and/or would that be the sort of thing you would be compelled to share with friends and family?

Do you feel there is a need for another blog of that sort?

Also, what could I do to improve Writelicious?

What would you like to see me blog more about?

What sort of blogs do you enjoy reading most?

Please share your answers either in a response on here or on Facebook.

As ever, thanks for reading! I look forward to seeing your thoughts.