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Laura Probst "dragon wench" RSS Feed (Conover, NC USA)
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Zero World
Zero World
by Jason M. Hough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.85
48 used & new from $12.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A clear conscience was his greatest asset, the reason for his extraordinary success.", August 12, 2015
This review is from: Zero World (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Peter Caswell wakes in a silk-sheeted bed in a luxurious flat in London with only a song refrain running through his head to tell him who and where he is. You see, Peter is an assassin, the best in the world, thanks to his ability to blend in anywhere, but he never remembers where he goes or who he kills because of the implant in his head and the timed-release chemicals it contains. And that's just the way Peter wants it. The only thing he allows himself is knowing how many kills he's made and that only by the number of Sapporo beer bottles, out of twelve, with labels turned away, a count done in the moments before he reverts.

And so begins one of the most twisty-turning, heart-pounding, thought-provoking books I've read in quite some time. It would be easy to describe this book as a spy thriller wrapped up in science fiction. Easy, but probably not quite accurate, not to mention too simplistic for such a complex tale. Having never read any of Jason Hough's other works, I don't know if Zero World is characteristic for him or a story that shows him growing as an author, but I will say that what I read left me mightily impressed. It would be quite easy, with such a complex and fast-paced story, for authors to skimp on certain things such as character development or world building, but that's not the case here. In fact, I was completely blown away by how much thought Hough put into creating the parallel Earth on which most of the story takes place. The differences between our two worlds are often quite simple, yet at the same time truly innovative. (Such as opening a door: here we turn a doorknob; on the alternate Earth, a door opens by way of a foot latch. So simple, yet I dare say no-one would've thought of it had the question been posed. I know I wouldn't have. Or expressing appreciation: here we simply say “Thanks” whereas alt. Earth uses “Gratitude.” A subtle, yet powerful difference.*) Yet, those differences are never outlandish or thoughtless or untrue to the story; they feel completely organic to the culture Hough has created. Even the names of the characters populating the alternate Earth are a degree or two away from familiarity for us, yet a natural extension of alt. Earth's evolution. But what makes this world-building so amazing was how deftly Hough managed to insert so much backstory and so many details without any of it ever becoming overbearing or an info-dump. As a writer, I'm in awe. And I also kind of hate him. Just a little bit.

The storyline is told from the perspectives of both Peter Caswell and his alt-Earth counterpart, Melni, which is another way Hough gives us a greater view of the world(s) he's created. The thing is, as developed as Peter is, Hough didn't skimp on Melni's development to achieve that. Melni is just as fierce and dedicated to her mission as Peter is to hers and as the story progresses it peels away the layers of her character allowing us to find out what drives her, what scares her, what makes her Melni. Which is awesome. It's so refreshing to find a female co-protagonist who is neither a fainting wimp nor an aggro female who probably started out as male. Yes, Melni can be vulnerable and, yes, she can be fierce, but she never loses her humanity or her femininity. Even his secondary characters have a depth to them that gives the impression that, if Hough were asked to, could step up and become the center of the story without difficulty.

Then we get to the story itself, set sometime in the future, which is . . . complicated. I mean, you start out with an enhanced super-secret spy-assassin, then progress to space travel, wormhole travel, an alternate Earth, and one heck of a conspiracy that sets everything Peter ever knew or believed in on its ear, and you've got a story that can't be easily condensed into a short summary. At least not without giving a misleading impression of what you'll be reading or giving away any number of spoilers. For all its complexity and genre-bending subject matter, not to mention its hefty appearance, Zero World is a fast and engrossing read, sucking you in from page one and only reluctantly letting you go. It's one of those books that will keep you up at night, making you want to know what happens next and then what happens after that. Not to mention you get a bonus novella, The Dire Earth, at the end, allowing you to keep the adventure going when the main novels ends.

So, really, all I can say is if you like books of a sci-fi, spy-thriller, futuristic, alternate Earth, dystopic, action-adventure, military leaning (and who doesn't?), with just a dash of romance thrown in for good measure, I'd strongly suggest you pick up Zero World right this minute. And prepare to have your mind blown.

*About the only weakness comes from the main curse word Hough created. Where we say f**king, alt. Earth uses blixxing. Now, having gone through the arduous process of creating an adequately vivid and powerful curse word myself, I can appreciate what Hough went through to create blixxing and for that I can't fault him. But whereas f**k represents a clear, Anglo-Saxon directness, it's hard to imagine the linguistic path of “blix” (or is it “blixx”? I can't remember). I'm sure I'm in the minority with this kind of struggle and I fully acknowledge I am a linguistics geek, making this a petty quibble, but considering this was the only thing out of the entire book that gave me pause . . . that's pretty blixxing good!


Quantum Mechanix Firefly Playing Cards
Quantum Mechanix Firefly Playing Cards
Offered by Hubbub
Price: $12.90
7 used & new from $7.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Attention all Browncoats!, August 8, 2015
Are you bored in between jobs? Are your hands idle and your chores piling up? Then get those idle hands on this deck of Firefly playing cards!

The deck is a standard, 52-card poker size deck with the Serenity flying over Shadow artwork (by QMx artisan Ben Mund) as its cover art. All cards have a sort-of Alliance-y looking suit symbol in the upper left-hand corners, with Chinese symbols identifying the number and suit running vertically underneath them. The number cards are fairly standard, but the face cards stand out: all four Jacks have a pair of guns on them (the black suits have Vera, the red have Mal's side-piece); the Queens represent Inara and Kaylee (the red show Inara's famous sponge bath and the black have Kaylee's rainbow-spiral Chinese parasol); the Kings show Mal in both browncoat roles (in his Battle of Serenity Valley garb, complete with helmet, and in his role as captain of Serenity). Would it have been nicer to have had four unique designs on each face card, rather than two repeated designs? Duh, of course yes. That doesn't stop it from being shiny-shiny as it is. The only set of face cards that are less-than-unique are the Aces; only the Ace of Spades and Ace of Hearts have anything to say (the Spades has a line drawing of Serenity with "Ace of the Black" underneath and the Hearts has a fun Easter egg). (There's also another Easter egg or two in the deck for a player to suss out.) In addition, there are two Joker cards printed with a very cunning hat and two reversible "Tall Cards" containing handwritten chore I.O.U.s. All the cards have a lived-in look with faux stains, oily finger prints, blotches... the kind of things that can happen to a well-loved and well-played-with deck when you ain't got nothing else to do in the Black. The cards, manufactured by Bicycle (a classic card company), are of the quality you would expect; they have a satiny, embossed finish, which makes them rather slippery to handle, but after a few rounds of shuffling and playing, they become easier to grip and work with.

So, if you're a Browncoat or are simply aiming to misbehave, grab your crew and grab this deck. Playing a hand or two of cards might not be as excitin' as running a Reaver blockade, but it sure as heck might be safer. (Though with Jayne and River around, you never know...)


Aura Outdoor Products AOP-GLV Silicone Heat Resistant Grill Gloves Set
Aura Outdoor Products AOP-GLV Silicone Heat Resistant Grill Gloves Set
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A product review, but not in the way you think!, July 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Okay, straight up, I was going to use these gloves in my kitchen (since I don't grill) as potholders and compare them to my old fabric potholders. Then I pulled them out of the package and got a really good look at them. First thought that came to mind? "These would make really great cat grooming gloves!" (I own a cat, so dealing with shedding and excess hair is constantly on my mind.) So I figured, why not? And you know what, I was completely right: they make wonderful grooming tools! The silicone nubbins really catch on to the animal's body and easily remove any excess hair without pulling or tugging on the skin, so there's no pain. And my cat, who likes being brushed but on his own terms (you know, like a cat) absolutely adored the gloves--I couldn't make him stay away while I had them on! Because, basically, I was petting him while grooming him, so he wasn't startled or disgruntled. Cleaning off the hair was easy, too: I just rubbed the gloves together while still wearing them and the hair pilled up and fell off into the garbage can that I was standing over. The gloves were also easy to hose off (I splashed some bleach over them beforehand in case I did want to use them as potholders later on).

So while I still can't attest to the gloves usefulness at the grill or in the kitchen, I can say they are wonderful additions to my cat care arsenal. That said, judging by how easy the gloves are to wear and how thick the silicon is, I imagine they probably work well for what they were designed. When I actually do use the gloves for that purpose, I'll be sure to update my review. :)

Edit: As of 8/11/2015, I have used these gloves for what they're actually designed, or at least closer to. On one occasion, I used them to handle a bowl of oatmeal taken straight from the microwave. I held my hands against the hottest part of the bowl for at least a minute and only in the last 30 seconds or so did I feel any significant heat coming through the gloves; even then, the warmth was mild and certainly not enough to cause me any pain or discomfort. On another occasion I used the gloves to handle a baking pan used in my convection toaster oven; again, I held my hands in direct contact with the heated metal and while the heat filtered in quicker than it did with the oatmeal, it again never reached the point where I felt uncomfortable or that I needed to quickly drop the pan. So, basically, the gloves are fabulous! They're the best possible combination of heavy-duty protection and flexibility for ease of use. I can see how they would be quite useful working at the grill or near any source of heat. I would highly recommend these gloves to anyone working in the kitchen or out on the grill . . . or needing to groom their pet!


Queen of the Dark Things: A Novel
Queen of the Dark Things: A Novel
by C. Robert Cargill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.08
52 used & new from $2.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Austin has always been an offbeat city... with this book, you now know why., May 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With Queen of the Dark Things, C. Robert Cargill returns to the dark, consequence-filled world he created in Dreams and Shadows. This time around, his modern fairytale comes wrapped in the mythology of the Australian aboriginal people, creating a more philosophical and, if possible, even darker story than his previous book as the themes of life, death, and the afterlife are explored.

I was actually rather surprised when I saw this book, as I'd read the first one with the understanding that it was a stand-alone novel. So with my surprise came the tiniest bit of dread. After all, Cargill's debut, Dreams & Shadows, was so dark and twisted and unique--would any kind of follow-up be able to match the level of creativity he'd created, let alone surpass it? Well, in my highly personal opinion, I feel I can say: Yes, yes it can.

Our story begins on a island somewhere in the Indian Sea in the year 1629, where the remnants of the shipwrecked Batavia have created a gallows for the small company of sailors, led by one Jeronimus Cornelisz, who mutinied. Handless and lifeless, these mutineers return as ghosts to seek vengeance on their fellow conspirators, the ones who survived the gallows by turning on their mates. No matter how long it takes. From there we return to the present, to Austin, TX and to Colby. It's been a few months since the showdown at the end of Dreams & Shadows and he's still mourning the loss of pretty much everything, especially his best friend, Ewan. This grief takes the form of severe self-recrimination and self-destruction. But Colby won't be allowed to spiral down: his actions have made him famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) and brought a lot of people out of the woodwork. Including some very dangerous enemies looking to settle a score. Into this dark and treacherous world is thrown Kaycee, a young girl from Australia, who is the yang to Colby's yin and has some very special abilities of her own. They're drawn together, and with the aid of the djinn Yashar, the Clever Man Mandu, Gossamer the talking golden retriever, and others--not all of them willing allies--attempt to hold back the evil threatening to spill out of the land of dreams and into our world.

From demons and djinn, to ghosts and fairies and the personification of Austin in the form of a woman, Cargill somehow manages to throw together disparate mythologies and cultures into a story that is cinematic in scope (no surprise, really, considering he's a screenwriter) yet still intimate enough to make the reader involved in the characters' lives and emotional journey. As with his previous book, Cargill also intersperses chapters from scholarly works, in this case works by a "Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D." concerning the history and significance of the Aboriginal concept of Dreamwalking and the role of the Clever Men who straddle the line between our world and the Dreamtime, along with other "references" which tie into and deepen both the chapters that follow these side excursions as well as the story as a whole. The intertwining of these "scholastic" works grounds the story and adds an element of realism, setting Cargill's work apart from most Urban Fantasy. And I say that as a lover of UF. But whereas most UF is set in our world, is meant to be our world with the same set of rules just slightly tweaked by the addition of vampires, werewolves, elves, whathaveyou, you understand that none of it could ever happen. Cargill's storytelling, however, leaves a small nugget of doubt in your mind telling you that, should you turn the wrong corner at just the right time, in the right city, you might just run into something straight out of your worst nightmare.


The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
by Judith Flanders
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.30
73 used & new from $5.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, read this book and you will., May 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With this exhaustively researched tome, Judith Flanders has managed to plop the reader down in pre-Victorian London (despite what the title says; the author explains the discrepancy in her author's note) and give them a front-row seat to all the changes that occurred to that marvelous metropolis during the period in which Charles Dickens lived and wrote. Changes Dickens witnessed firsthand as he roamed the streets, memorizing every cobblestone, every inch of macadam, every plank of wood and concrete paver in his path. The man was famous for his intimate knowledge of the roads beneath his boots: It was said you could set him down on any corner in London and he could tell you the exact location using the encyclopedia of smells, sounds, and textures he'd gathered through his daily walks. Using not just his life but excerpts of his works, Flanders presents to us the city Dickens loved and lived in as well as the city as he hoped it could be.

Much like Ancient Rome, Londoners of this period spent most of their time outside the home either from desire or necessity, doing their cooking, eating, washing, working, playing, and even dying on the variously paved streets of the city. With the two-pronged approach of showing us London through Dickens' reality and his fiction, we are exposed to the cruel dichotomy created by the cheek-by-jowl nature of businessmen walking to work on streets on which prostitutes plied their trade; indigent or immigrant children playing games on streets strewn with mounds of horse droppings, raw sewage, even the bodies of dead animals; grand, stately townhomes surrounding quiet squares lined with trees and gardens sitting at the back of overcrowded, underfunded slums and tenements where the residents lived, worked, and died crowded by the dozens into shoebox-sized rooms.

I visited London back in 1997 and didn't spend nearly enough time there--I certainly didn't see all I wished to see. Reading The Victorian City makes me wish I had the ability to travel back to London and walk the streets Dickens knew. Since that's unlikely, the vivid sights, sounds, and smells Flanders presents in her book will have to suffice. If you're a Dickens fan or a fan of British or socioeconomic history, or simply a fan of a well-written, finely composed work of non-fiction, then this is the book you need to read.


Maisie Dobbs
Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.53
74 used & new from $5.38

4.0 out of 5 stars "Good Lord, Maisie Dobbs, where do you think you are going with those books?", May 14, 2015
This review is from: Maisie Dobbs (Paperback)
3.5 stars

As often happens with novels I rate at 3.5 stars, I have mixed feelings about what I've read. On the one hand, the book as a whole was an easy read. The story moved at a quick clip--I never felt a drag in what was actually being told, regardless of how it pertained to the plot--the dialogue is crisp, and the story was entertaining. Yet, despite how entertaining the book was, it felt slightly misleading.

We start with young Maisie Dobbs as she opens up a detective agency and receives her first big case. Maisie, a young lady who was trained by a Hercule Poirot-type mentor and sponsored by a bored but socially-conscious aristocrat, treks through 1929 London to figure out if her client's wife is cheating on him, and in doing so discovers an even larger mystery involving the real "Walking Dead", those soldiers who returned from the Great War disfigured in more than just body. It took a while for the "mystery" of this mystery novel to finally unfold, and when it did, it was slightly disappointing. Anyone familiar with even the basic tenets and M.O. of a cult would've seen the denouement coming from a mile away. Not only that, but shortly into Maisie's investigation of this "mystery", the novel shifts and we spend time in Maisie's past where we discover how she came to the attention of her mentor and sponsor, and how the Great War shaped and affected her. Now, contrary to some, I like a good backstory: I like seeing where a character comes from, how they came to be who they are and discover their raison d'etre. And I understand why Winspear gives us that insight into Maisie--it allows us to understand a bit better how Maisie relates to the surviving soldiers she needs to deal with. The way Winspear did it, though, seems a bit clumsy and disruptive to the main plotline; with the mystery at the heart of the novel being so weak, it seems it would've profited from a direct telling rather than the interrupted one it got.

I also got the overwhelming sense of something "Mary Sue" about the whole book, not just the protagonist; every character was just so . . . nice. There's nothing wrong with nice, don't get me wrong, but even the villain wasn't bad per se, just thoroughly destroyed mentally by the terrors he'd gone through in the first World War. The few people that Maisie didn't "rub along with" were never out-and-out mean to her; any antagonism sprang from the other person's anger/disappointment/fear of something happening in their life, not from any personal dislike of Maisie herself. And the other characters in Maisie's life were overwhelmingly supportive of her, willing to cross any social/financial boundaries in order to assist her. Which is just so wildly unrealistic. I admit, I'm the "glass half empty" type of person. (Actually, I'm the "the glass is half empty because the glass is cracked and leaking and will cut me if I pick it up" type person.) So I have a natural aversion to anything too perky or sweet. But to have a good story is to have friction and drama, which only comes when things don't go easy: when people are mean to you, maybe for no good reason, maybe for every reason; when things are hard and no help is forthcoming from those who could ease the way, making the struggle that much more of an uphill battle. A life in which things go too easy, where everyone is on your character's side and they get all the help they need or want from those around them, has the potential to be a rather boring story.

From the author's notes and mini interview at the back of the book, the main theme of Maisie Dobbs was a personal one based on Winspear's curiosity of WWI-era Britain as well as family history/stories of that time period. Considering the violence and social upheaval the first world war engendered, perhaps Winspear didn't want to add any fictional conflict from the actions of her characters. Maybe she wanted to present a more idealized image of the ordinary citizen to counteract all that violence. Who knows. It just seems to do a disservice to the reader in my opinion. After all, even in the midst of chaos, life goes on: Good people still do good deeds, evil people still do evil deeds, and most people reside somewhere in between as they work their way through life. That's where your conflict comes from. And that's where the stories come from.


Hint Premium Essence Water Variety Pack, 16 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)
Hint Premium Essence Water Variety Pack, 16 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)
Price: $22.00
12 used & new from $22.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a Hint . . . or, actually, buy a Hint . . . *sigh* I am so bad at titles., April 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I discovered Hint water one day while shopping at Food Lion. (I know, surprising, right? I know they're trying to upgrade their name and branch out by offering more gourmet and organic foods, but I never expected to see a brand like Hint, especially since the other, more upscale, grocery store in my area doesn't offer Hint at all. But I digress...) Anyway, the store only had a couple of flavors, but they were on special so I picked up a watermelon and a strawberry/kiwi. OMG! Talk about yum! So because I knew I couldn't rely on those specials to keep my pantry stocked (not to mention the store offers only about three flavors), I came to Amazon to start getting Hint on subscription. (I get the variety pack every couple of months which I supplement with a single flavor pack in between so I get a nice mix.)

Hint water is exactly like an infused water you might make at home: pure flavor without any additives, sweeteners, or artificial flavors. The only difference between Hint and homemade infused water is that Hint offers a wider range of fruit flavors. Not to mention it takes a heck of lot less effort to open a bottle of Hint than it does to make your own infused water. I don't know about you, but I've been interested in making infused water for quite a while; after all, we know it's healthy to drink water, but sometimes just plain water becomes just plain boring. However, by the time I buy all the different types of fruit, preferably organic, prep it all by slicing, coring, peeling, etc., and either rig up a way to infuse a jug of water or buy one of those nifty jugs with a built-in infuser, I'll end up spending more money and time on the project than I would've had I just bought a case of Hint water in the first place.

As to the flavors, while I haven't tried them all, I can say that with the ones I have tried, they taste EXACTLY like fresh fruit. Some of the sweeter fruits, like watermelon and honeydew, are so true to life, the water can almost taste like there's additional sweetener even though there's none. Other flavors can be more subtle or even slightly off-putting which, again, is more due to the true-to-life flavor of the fruits used. And I think that might explain some of the negative reviews I've seen here. For instance, the blackberry water can have a slightly musty taste, but blackberries themselves taste musty, even fresh off the bramble. And while I haven't had the cucumber Hint water, considering that cucumbers aren't exactly bursting with intense flavor, it makes sense that the water would be rather subtle. That said, everybody's taste is different and there's always the slim possibility of an off batch. Personally, my favorite flavors are watermelon, honeydew, and strawberry/kiwi. (And I'm really hoping Amazon will soon start offering Hint's newest flavor, pineapple--sounds yummy!)

Though it may sound obvious, if you're new to Hint, I'd suggest starting with a fruit that's a favorite of yours, to get a good idea of how true-to-life the brand is. I think once you try one bottle of Hint, you'll be hooked--it's just that good.


Paperama
Paperama
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun way to waste some time..., January 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Paperama (App)
I've never run into an app quite like this one. The origami puzzles range from easy to really easy to difficult, and because there's no timer and a handy undo button (to clear the previous move) and a reset button (to clear the entire puzzle), you can work each level without feeling any pressure. Making this a great app to help you relax at the end of the day. That said, these are puzzles, so you're actually giving your brain a nice little workout, keeping it from turning it into total mush. I don't know about you, but my brain needs all the help it can get so a little bit of stimulation is very much welcomed.


Masterpiece: Death Comes to Pemberley [Blu-ray]
Masterpiece: Death Comes to Pemberley [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Matthew Rhys
Price: $17.75
29 used & new from $13.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, if slightly miscast., November 6, 2014
When it was announced that P.D. James had written a murder-mystery sequel to the classic novel Pride & Prejudice, I had mixed feelings about it. After all, I've been a pretty vocal opponent of P&P sequels as most tend to fail in capturing the original's wit, humor, and sparkle. However, I also knew that James is a very talented author, with a great respect for Austen. Sadly, procrastination took over and I still haven't managed to read the book. So I was quite excited when I saw the first ads for this Masterpiece adaptation; after all, I love Matthew Rhys on FX's The Americans and have been a fan of Anna Maxwell-Martin since I saw her in Bleak House (although I already felt a twinge of anxiety over her casting as Elizabeth--Jennifer Ehle's superlative version of the character in the 1995 miniseries [the gold standard of P&P adaptations] is pretty much the standard against which I measure all other versions, and as much as I admire Maxwell-Martin, I just couldn't picture her as Lizzie). So, this was bound to be a good adaptation, right? Eh, not so much, unfortunately.

First, to the good bits: The casting of Matthew Goode as Wickham was inspired as Matthew is quite handsome with a wicked twinkle in his eyes--it's quite easy to see him using his looks and charm to get away with murder. And while I may not particularly like her on Doctor Who, as the spoiled and frivolous Lydia, Jenna Coleman was perfection, dare I say even better than Julia Sawalha. (Sacrilege, I know, but it's true.) As Georgiana Darcy, Eleanor Tomlinson was a perfect combination of radiant innocence and budding sexual awakening. Other supporting players such as Tom Ward as Col. Fitzwilliam and Joanna Scanlan as Mrs. Reynolds made the best of minor parts. Even Stephanie Cole, who played the devilish Diana on the show Waiting for God several years back, did a passable job as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. As for the actual filming of the program, with locations such as Chatsworth House for exterior shots of Pemberley and the landscapes of West Yorkshire for Pemberley's extensive woodlands, well, you really can't complain about the quality.

Now to the not-so-good bits: The story, on the whole, felt quite lightweight, and the "mystery" not only felt less than mysterious, it also seemed to take a backseat to other story issues, even as the characters worked to solve said mystery, if that makes sense. But it was still entertaining to watch, in its own way. However, the biggest blunder of all was the casting of the two main characters. Matthew as Mr. Darcy wasn't the worst; he did manage to capture Darcy's stiffness and occasional bouts of haughty pride. That said, I didn't get the same sort of smoldering passion that bubbled beneath Darcy's rather stand-offish demeanor, something that Colin Firth pulled off so well, to the delight of thousands of female fans (and male ones, too, no doubt). And, yes, that includes me--I admit to swooning over his breech-clad thighs and the white shirt clinging to his chest in the pond swimming scene. But my initial twinge of anxiety turned out to be right on the mark when it came to Anna Maxwell-Martin, the biggest casting misstep. As much as I like her as an actress, Anna was no Lizzie. Firstly, and this is the fault of both the costume and makeup designer, Lizzie was turned into a dowd. She was frumpy and colorless, lacking the vivacity her character is famous for. Where was the pert Lizzie, the Lizzie who gleefully made fun of Darcy's snobbery, the Lizzie who stood toe-to-toe with Lady Catherine de Bourgh and came out the winner? This Lizzie was instead rather sour and a bit of a scold, not how I imagined that half of a famous romantic couple turning out. Not to be cruel, but while Anna isn't ugly, her looks aren't what I'd associate with Elizabeth, not to mention, at 36 and looking it, she's a bit too long in the tooth for Lizzie, a new mother who's actually about a decade younger. And, I'm sorry, but after seeing Jennifer Ehle's ample bosom on display in the '95 miniseries, Anna's, um, deficiency in that department was made even more obvious. Frankly, on just about all points, Anna missed the mark.

I so wanted to love this program, but while it was mildly entertaining, I can't say it's a worthy sequel. Certainly not worthy enough to sit next to my Blu-ray of the '95 miniseries.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2014 3:15 AM PST


Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden (Full)
Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden (Full)
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging!, October 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Puzzle games are a great way to keep your brain active and this Wraiths of the Abyss game certainly does the trick! Complicated enough to give your brain a real workout but not so convoluted that it gets frustrating to play. The story and graphics are top notch, not to mention quite entertaining. My only complaint is that the game was too short--it needed to have several more chapters!


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