Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

What Jayne is reading/watching at the end of August

Space Slugs by Frances Pauli – What starts well doesn’t necessarily end well. There are tons of plot threads that are tossed in then left and the world building needs help. See posted review.

Unnatural Fire by Fidelis Morgan – I picked this one up and enjoyed it though I didn’t love it like a long lost rich relative. See posted review.

Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne – This one hit all the right notes for me and makes me determined to see what else this author has already out there. Second or maybe third generation Chick Lit style with Scottish reeling! See posted review.

A Catered Affair by Sue Margolis – A bit different in story timeline than I was expecting and not in a good way. The heroine also didn’t work for me until too late to believe her sudden change. Full review to follow.

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Cafe du Jour by Lillian Darcy – I think this will be a love it or leave it book for most. The writing style and “feel” of the book worked for me as one woman’s exploration of her life and her sister’s recovery from a horrific road accident. Though a romance is promised, it comes way at the end and felt like a tack on to me. Full review to follow.

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Make Me Believe by Crystal Jordan – hot hair dresser is herded together with hot firefighter by paranormal forces for lots of hot sex. My interest in the story was to see how the author would get two romance gun shy characters together. With lots of sex, that’s how. Full Review to follow.

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Confetti – this is a mockumentary of themed weddings and the need for couples to have that unique wedding that sets them apart from all others. Sometimes the simplest weddings are the best. I think this would be enjoyed by people who’ve liked “Waiting for Guffman” or “Best in Show.” I saw lots of UK actors I like and had a great time. Warning – one of the couples practice “naturalism” and there’s tons of full frontal here.

Sanjuro – I went ahead and changed my mind, as I warned I do, and watched this as my next Kurosawa film. Though I’d read how much more of a comedy this is than Yojimbo, I actually found it a bit darker in the plot and ending. In Yojimbo, both sides the ronin was playing off each other were bad which made him the only good guy and I didn’t feel that it would be wrong for either side to lose. Here the sides were good vs evil and a family was at stake. The final fight only brought home the wise words the older woman stated earlier in the film which I will paraphrase as: powerful warriors need to be careful as when they unleash their killing skills, people die.

Mrs Miniver – Someone – forgive me I can’t recall who or on what Friday Movie thread – recommended I try this one. I think this one stands as a testament to how life was in England at the time – boy have things changed – and as an example of the “chin up, we can do it” type of films being made to lift spirits and keep the home front bravely supporting the troops during WWII. It also shows its age and not in a good way at times.

The Harmonists – this is about an six man all male singing group in Germany during the turbulent late 1920s and early 1930s. Half the group is Jewish so we see how the changing politics affected the country through their experiences. It has lovely period costumes, lots of music (I think original recordings were used) but the film has the feel of being almost totally shot on a soundstage which gave it a very artificial feel to me.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Maili
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 13:39:55

    I think the only Kurosawa film I truly liked is ‘The Bad Sleep Well’. A tale of revenge in corporate setting.

  2. Jen G.
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 13:57:26

    LOVE Confetti! I sent it to a friend as part of her engagement gift, and she said it was the best gift she received.

  3. Darlynne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 15:37:08

    I watched Mrs. Miniver a long time ago, but remember losing it, completely in tears, at the end. And whenever I see roses, I think of that movie (and Brother Cadfael because I met a woman whose garden had a hybrid she’d named for my favorite monk).

  4. KKJ
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 17:14:37

    Mrs. Miniver is one of those “brilliant, glad I watched it, but never again” kind of movies. I was a sobbing mess at the end.

    For an American version of WWII homefront, try Since You Went Away with the ridiculously under-rated Claudette Colbert. It’s Mrs. Miniver with better costumes and fewer bombs.

    One that holds up unbelievably well is The Best Years of Our Lives – it’s so timeless it could be remade in any era. It’s a DIK for me, and not only because it has one of my most favoritest movie kisses (Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews in the parking lot). It has everything a perfect movie should have.

    I was all excited about your rec of The Harmonists, but it’s a no-go on Netflix. I put the book version on my Alibris wishlist. Confetti is in the queue!

  5. Jayne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 17:25:05

    @KKJ: “The Best Years of Our Lives” is fabulous. And you remind me that I haven’t watched it in ages.

    That’s funny about “The Harmonists” since I just watched it from Netflix. ::checks Netflix:: Wow, that is odd. Maybe there’s only disc and someone broke it after me….

  6. Jayne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 17:28:42

    @Darlynne: I don’t think it helped my viewing experience of “Mrs Miniver” to know that at the time the film was made, Greer Garson was married to the actor playing her son.

  7. Jayne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 17:38:33

    @Jen G.: I loved the fact that, despite all the weird and grand wedding plans, and how awful some of those couples were about getting the wedding of their dreams and how they dealt with the wedding planners, at the end after the weddings were done, you could tell that the couples did love each other.

    And what a wonderful gift for your friend! Something to keep her laughing through those last minute details that make you wish you’d just gone to an Elvis wedding chapel in Vegas.

  8. Jayne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 17:40:00

    @Maili: One thing I’ve definitely learned about Kurosawa is that certain of his films are not for newbies so I need to pick and choose carefully.

  9. Sunita
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 12:19:14

    @Jayne: LOL! I love Mrs. Miniver, but you are quite right about the dated aspects. And Richard Ney!

    The other thing I always remember about the film is that when Garson won the Oscar for her performance she gave a 5+ minute acceptance speech. Supposedly, after that the Academy instituted a time limit.

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