Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Austenland Movie Review

I've fangirled about Shannon Hale and Austenland on multiple occasions. If we are connected on any social media site you know that I was giddy when I managed to get tickets to a showing at Sundance and that I've been counting down the days until the screening finally arrived. Well, last night was the night!

Here's the really brief version of this review (in case you don't want to read my rambling): I loved the movie!! LOVED it!!

Now on to a more detailed, rambling account of the evening-
The screening was held at Peery's Egyptian Theater in downtown Ogden. I've driven past the theater countless times but had never been inside. It's gorgeous! My favorite part was the adorable man entertaining us on the organ until the show started.

Once every seat was full the movie was introduced by the director, Jerusha Hess. Then the lights went down and I found myself holding my breath. This was the moment of truth- would the book I adore translate into a film worthy of that same admiration? Would this audience, the majority of which probably had not read the book, love these characters and the story as much as I do? I honestly don't know how people like Shannon or Jerusha sat through multiple screenings- I was nervous and I'm just a fan. I don't have the same kind of investment that they do in this project.

Within seconds of the movie beginning the entire audience erupted in laughter and the laughter continued throughout the movie. It wasn't just a little bit of laughter- it was the kind of laughter that made you glad you'd emptied your bladder before the movie started.

I can't put into words how much I enjoyed the movie. There were a few small changes in the story but nothing to be bothered about. These quirky, over-the-top characters that had leapt off the page for me were brought to life even more brilliantly that I could have imagined.

As the movie ended the audience cheered. Then Jerusha and Shannon did a brief Q&A and we cheered some more. Questions were asked about the writing process ("It was a delight!"), the casting process ("We called in a few favors."), about Stephenie Meyer's role (She's a producer) and about distribution. At the time both Jerusha and Shannon said they didn't know about distribution and to keep our fingers crossed. It was announced later last night that Sony has picked it up, which means everyone will get to see it. Yay!!

As I walked back to my car I over heard several comments about people wanting to read the book, loving the movie and wanting to watch it again as soon as it was over. Today I received a phone call from a coworker that was at the screening. Neither she or her husband had read the book, they picked the movie solely on who directed it. They loved it!! It made me smile to hear people who had no idea what Austenland was going into the showing talk about how much they loved it.

I am so excited for the rest of the world to be able to see the movie!!!

Just for fun I'm re-posting this hilarious video from the Midnight in Austenland launch party of Shannon Hale telling the story of signing Ricky Whittle's underwear while on the set of Austenland- Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Entertainment Weekly posted the first official pictures from Catching Fire this morning. When they announced yesterday that they would be posting pictures I hoped that we would get a glimpse of Finnick and we did!! 

The cover picture is cool but this picture from the movie is even better. I think it shows Finnick's personality so well. He's obviously distracting Katniss during her rope tying session (at least that's when I think he distracts her, it's been a while since I read the book). I can't wait to see him offer her a sugar cube!!!

ETA: EW just posted several more pictures. Finnick isn't in them but I'm just going to add them here anyway. These are getting me so excited for the movie!! I can't believe we have to wait until November!  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Favorite Reads of 2012

Because of school and my new TV addictions (Castle, Chuck, Firefly, and The Big Bang Theory) I didn't get as much reading done as I usually do this year. My 2012 grand total, including re-reads, was 51 books. My to-be-read pile is out of control so hopefully I'll be able to find more reading time in 2013.

Even though I didn't read as many books as I would have liked I still read some amazing books. These were my favorites- 

This book took me by surprise. I went into it thinking it was a light hearted story about two people who meet in an airport, which it was. But it was also a little bit heart wrenching, surprisingly emotional and absolutely darling. I highly recommend it!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi-
I ranted about Shatter Me here. I don't have much to add except Unravel Me comes out in a little over a month and I'm giddy! So excited to read the next installment of Juliette's story!

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale-
A mystery in Austenland- a combination of my love for crime shows and all things Jane Austen- does it get any better than that?!?! I think not! I posted my full review here.

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins-
The conclusion to the Hex Hall series was a crazy, hilarious, gut wrenching ride! I laughed, cried and swooned. This has become one of my favorite series.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa-
Aaaah.... Julie amazes me! I can't really put into words how much I loved this book. Kick-ass heroine, moral struggles, vampires and a very swoony boy. It's perfection! I can't wait to read the next one in the series.

Timepiece by Myra McEntire-
There is a possibility that my obsession with this series is a little bit over the top. The stupid grin I get on my face when I talk about it is a good indicator of how much I love it. My gushing review about Kaleb, I mean, Timepiece is here.

Defiance by C.J. Redwine-
I lost an entire Saturday to this book. I sat down to read a few chapters before doing homework and hours later I still hadn't done any math. It's so good!! Read my review here.

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson-
I have a Downton Abbey Facebook group and a bunch of the members of that group were gushing about Edenbrooke so I had to check it out. I may pretend to be hard hearted and cynical but books like this prove that I'm a hopeless romantic. *sigh* I loved this book!!! If you're a fan of period romances- you need to read it!

Reached by Ally Condie-
The conclusion to the Matched trilogy is perfection. I can't even put into words how much I loved this book. Ally is a genius! I am in awe of her writing- it is beautiful, touching and haunting. The only thing I can say is- do not go gentle. 

Oh, how I love Maria's books! She writes fantasy like none other. This second book in the Healer series was phenomenal. Not only do we get more of Avry being a strong, kick-ass heroine but we get to see part of the story from Kerrick's point of view. If there is one thing Maria does better than writing a strong, capable woman it is a hero that can make me weak in the knees. I'm really looking forward to the third installment in this series!!

There they are- my favorites of 2012. Maybe it was a good thing I didn't read more- then my list would have been longer ;)