Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Harry Potter Film Wizardry" by Brian Sibley

Are you a fan of the Harry Potter movies?  If you are, you should check out Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley.  The book discusses the making of all eight films in the series.  (Be aware that there are two versions of this book.  The 2012 version does cover all eight films, but the 2010 one may not.)  It covers many aspects of the film-making process, from how some of the actors came to be involved to the reasons for various decisions about sets and costumes.  Each film is explored by describing various sets and creatures that were introduced in that film.  Scattered throughout the book are pages devoted solely to particular characters and the actors who portrayed them.  In addition to the many pictures (including concept art, models, and movie stills), there are a few extra visual aids to add to the enjoyment of the book.  (Did you think you'd ever get to unfold & view the Marauder's Map?!?)  In case you've been missing Harry Potter but haven't had time to sit down & re-watch all the movies or reread all the books, reading Sibley's book--or even just looking through all the pictures!--will bring back the whole story!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Isle of Shadows by T.L. Higley

Tracy L. Higley writes a series of Christian books based on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

In Isle of Shadows, we are on the Isle of Rhodes in the last days before the great earthquake of 226 B.C. The Colossus of Rhodes, a huge bronze statue of Helios, stands astride the harbor of the capital city. 

Tessa, a beautiful and powerful courtesan, must serve Glaucus, the head of the democracy in Rhodes.  She hates her slavery in spite of the gifts and favors she receives. 

Glaucus dies in an accident. However, due to the circumstances, no one is likely to believe that Tessa didn't kill him.  Simeon, the Jewish head servant of the household, and newcomer Nikos help Tessa hide the truth for a short time.

Along with keeping Glaucus' death a secret, they must also discover who is behind certain political maneuverings which include shutting off the water supply to part of the city and the murder of more than one official.

Nikos has his secrets too, which bring about other complications.  Tessa and Nikos find themselves hidden away with Simeon's family in the Jewish section of town during Passover. They are invited to stay for the meal and learn the history of the feast and the promise of the Messiah.

Tessa makes a last desperate stand for her freedom just as the great earthquake hits the island.  The statue of Helios helps secure her freedom in a very compelling manner.

If you like Christian historical fiction, I suggest you read this book.

Kathi Linz

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans

Beth Cardill has loved three men in her life.  Mark, her first husband, betrays her.  She doesn't find out that he is cheating one her until her daughter Charlotte comes down with a mysterious illness that is causing dangerous symptoms and the doctors can't diagnose.

Soon after Beth becomes ill, Mark also gets a critical illness. Shortly after this, Beth has to juggle mortgage payments and more bills than her job can pay for.

Enter the tall, dark stranger.  Matthew helps Beth with her problems and suggests the cause of Charlotte's illness.  Everything turns around for Beth. Life is wonderful and beautiful - but...isn't it strange that Matthew knows things about her and Charlotte that he can't possibly know.

When Matthew helps Beth with her financial problems, and then disappears with the money, Beth determines never to trust anyone ever again.

I won't tell you the ending, but don't give up hope for Beth and don't judge Matthew too quickly. The answer to the riddle of Matthew is one you aren't likely to guess before Richard Paul Evans tells you.

Kathi Linz