Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, June 24, 2019

Setting up some summer day reading for July & August

Since we're fully into summer now, making rest and relaxation plans during these hot and humid months are vital.  Whether you're putting up your feet at home or packing up for a big road trip, books are part and parcel for your entertainment needs.

During this July and August, quite a few new reads are expected to arrive on a bookshelf near you and while it may be daunting to keep track of them all, perhaps this list of recommendations can make that particular task more of a pleasure than a chore:


This past weekend, I was lucky enough to finish reading The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman and in my opinion, this was the best way to start my summer.

The leading lady of the title is enjoying what she deems a rather happy existence, with a great job at a indie bookstore, an apartment loaded to the brim with books and competitive fun as a member of a bar trivia team called Book 'Em Danno, plus a cat.

Nina's world gets a few sudden jolts as a visit from a lawyer brings her news of the death of her father, a man she never knew, and a whole slew of relatives, one of which has very blunt opinions about Nina's possible inheritance from the last will and testament. In addition, there's a guy on a rival trivia team(You're a Quizzard, Harry, such a great name!) who is catching her eye but he doesn't seem to be much of a reader, a major check in the negative column.

Nina does have some anxiety problems, which are set off by all of these new changes. Can she learn to adjust to this new set of situations or will she retreat further away from them?  This is the first time that I've read Abbi Waxman and this book is a wonderful introduction to her witty ways with words and people.

I highly encourage any and all bookish types to add this enchanting novel to their summer reading and while this story is set in Southern California, there a bit of a New England Stars Hollow vibe to it that should delight fans of a certain beloved TV show indeed(July):

 For a look into the not so distant literary past, Karen Dukess takes us to The Last Book Party, set in the summer of 1987.

Eve Rosen longs to be a writer as celebrated as Henry Grey, who is practically a living legend at the New Yorker, yet being an editorial secretary at his publishers is enough of a thrill for her.  Getting to meet him and his seeming elite family at his home during a business gathering is pretty much a dream come true.

In order to get closer to the Greys as well as her literary ambitions, Eve leaves her job to work for up and coming author Jeremy Grand as his research assistant. Jeremy went to school with Henry's son Franny and while his talents as a writer are attractive, what he knows about the Greys is less than pretty. Eve learns that lesson the hard way at a book party which is both a beginning and an ending for all involved.

With such rapid changes to the world of publishing, Dukess gives us the gift of reflection upon a somewhat more innocent time that offers plenty of secrets and lies for the page turning(July).


Laura L. Sullivan offers a different take on The Three Musketeers with Milady, the villainous dame of de Winter. Here, we get her back story as Clarice, a young woman introduced into the intrigues of the court of King James I, mainly for the benefit of her absent nobleman father.

Using her skills for deceit and murder, Clarice makes her way through less than polite society, despite being made into a pawn by various men in her path for their own power games. By the time she does run into D'Artagnan and friends, she has lived more than one adventurous life and is ready to take on more.

If you're a fan of Milady de Winter (and yes, I am), this novel is a dream come true and for those not yet familiar with the classic Dumas tale, this is a good way to make the acquaintance of those fine fellows and the most deadly diva in literature(July):

 In Karen Brooks' The Chocolate Maker's Wife, which takes place in London of the 1660s, Rosemund Tompkins considers it to be her good fortune to be sold into marriage to Sir Everald Blithman, a nobleman who has just opened a chocolate drinking establishment for the upper class.

While happy to get away from the abusive men in her family, Rosemund soon learns that her new husband considers her more of a daughter, as in she resembles his deceased daughter Helena. Further more, Helena's widower, Matthew Lovelace, was never considered to be good enough for her and her father blames him for the early death of his beloved child.

Rosemund contents herself with being a good wife by educating herself on the newly flourishing chocolate trade and becoming a charming hostess at the drinking house. Even when she finds herself an independent woman of means, Rosemund does her best to take life as it comes but it's not without a few obstacles both in and out of her control. This lively look at a woman in the flow of history who makes her own way forward is quite the savory sweet treat(August).

Beatriz Williams can always be counted on for a great read that highlights amazing people in history and in her upcoming The Golden Hour, the infamous Duke and Duchess of Windsor play a key role.

Reporter Lulu Thorpe is covering the doings of the former heir to the English throne and his wife Wallis Simpson as they set up shop in the Bahamas during the early 1940s. Her ultimate goal is to help her current husband Benedict , an undercover agent for the British,escape from a German prison camp but she still has a job to do and highlighting the Windsors is a necessary evil.

Lulu is no stranger to trouble, having had to ditch a troublesome prior husband, and yet, this plight of her beloved Benedict may be trickier to deal with. A connection from his family's past might be the unexpected key to his freedom, if only she can find it in time. Williams is truly crackerjack when it comes to such stories and her portrayal of the Windsors should be a delightful dish on this literary menu(July):

 FIRE AND FLIGHT: This pair of late summer releases have very different ways of dealing with matters of heart and soul yet each works well for their particular set of fictional situations.

In Lisa Lutz's The Swallows, newly hired teacher Alex Witt is going through some hazing at Stonebridge Academy, a private school in Vermont. As she begins to deal with the bordering on nasty harassment, a student named Gemma informs her of a website where the boys of Stonebridge brag about their sexual conquests, complete with a ranking of their female classmates.

Not wanting to make waves yet unable to ignore the issue, Alex becomes an unofficial advisor to Gemma, who is forming a group of her peers that are planning to take the boys on, especially since they know the patriarchal power system that runs the school certainly won't. As remote as she hopes to be from all of this, Alex finds herself caught up in the maelstrom that eventually ignites but is not unhappy about which side she's on.

Lutz is known for her sharp satire mixed with savvy storytelling and while this novel is set several years before the rise of the push back movement against misogynistic behavior that we see today, this vivid tale of payback rings strongly true to the times(August).

The leading lady of Katherine Center's Things You Save in a Fire is Cassie Hanwell, whose determination to get over the turmoil that entered her life at age sixteen lead her to become a top firefighter in Austin, TX, ten years later.

An unexpected encounter with someone from her past sets off a chain of actions that has Cassie starting over in a Boston firehouse, living with the mother who left her a decade ago.

Dealing with a new crew and a mom that wants to reconnect before her health problems get worse, Cassie has enough on her plate without being attracted to a rookie firefighter named Owen, who is quite friendly but they're competing for the same spot in the firehouse, thanks to budget cuts.

That's not the only reason that she wants to hold off on making emotional bonds yet fate seems to have other things in mind for her, despite Cassie's determination to be an emotional island fortress. Perhaps she has to discover how to rescue herself. This poignant novel of love, loss and self healing sounds like the perfect reading escape for any time of the year(August):

 I hope you all have a great summer and enjoy whatever good times you have planned, especially for the big Fourth of July holiday that is just around the corner. As for me, that holiday is going to be spent in a certain small town where a new mall has opened and along with the fireworks, Stranger Things will be bringing the noise as well as the fearsome funk:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Planning a ladies' night at the movies this summer

While we're in the big blockbuster movie season at the moment, it's a good idea to take a serious look around at the upcoming film schedule to see if there is anything on the cinematic horizon that's a bit more bookish and female focused.

At the very least, you might find a small treasure just waiting to be discovered or a merely a not on the major radar movie that needs a little extra attention to gain a sizeable audience. For example, a different take on Shakespeare's Hamlet is due out later this month entitled Ophelia, starring Daisy Ridley in the title role.

From being taken in as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Gertrude(Naomi Watts) to becoming the secret love interest of Prince Hamlet(George McKay) as the royal family deals with major upheavals,including betrayal of the most intimate kind, Ophelia has to rely on her own wits to find a safe passage for herself. However, such maneuvering often comes at a terrible price but will she be willing to pay that cost?

Based on the novel by Lisa Klein as well as the iconic play, this vision of Hamlet's Denmark could be an eye opener even for those who think they know this story inside and out. Perhaps a new set of eyes could make this tragic tale more poignant than ever before:

 Arriving in August, Vita & Virginia puts the spotlight on two main members of the famed Bloomsbury Group in England of the 1920s.

Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) is determined to befriend the reclusive writer Virginia Woolf(Elizabeth Debicki) in order to liven up her dreary social life but their connection turns out to become much deeper than that.

The growing affection between them is strong, with neither of their seemingly conventional marriages getting in the way, and eventually their bond becomes the inspiration for one of Woolf's most innovative works, Orlando.

Adapted from the stage play by Eileen Atkins(who used the actual correspondence of these remarkable women as source material), this movie may be a great introduction into the Bloomsbury mystique as well as inviting those devoted to this special circle of friends over for some engaging drama:

Also set for August but a little closer to modern times, The Kitchen stars Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Moss as a trio of wives living in Hell's Kitchen during the 1970s who share two things in common; their husbands are in prison and they're facing hard financial times.

Tired of scrapping by and barely making do with what little is given to them, the ladies decide to be their own mob bosses and surprise themselves by being more than just as good as the men. In fact, they're far better.

However, even these strong willed women have to deal with the aftermath of a life of crime but perhaps they can make it work on their own terms. This movie is based on a DC/Vertigo graphic novel by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle that should be reissued in time for this movie to make it's mark on the big screen.  Why this is set for so late in the summer movie game, I don't know but it could be a savvy sleeper hit, we shall see:

Well, it's good to see some girl power on the silver screen this summer and not just in the fall in time for award show season. Although, we may get a bit of mega movie fun when back to school season starts that should be delightfully wicked indeed, particularly if you're fond of villainous leading ladies, which I so am!:

Friday, June 14, 2019

My Sci-Fi Summer reading has turned into quite the royal rumble

So far, my pace in the  Sci-Fi Summer readathon has been pretty good and I thought rather quick for a two week challenge.

As it turns out, I have more time to read here as moderator Michelle Miller(from Seasons of Reading) has recently announced that this special bookish event is now a month long,which also moves July's High Summer reading to August. In addition, not all of your books have to be sci-fi and/or fantasy, other genres can be part of the mix.

It's a good idea whose time has come and while I did drop one intended book off my initial list, a library loan has taken it's place(more on that later). In the meantime, I was able to finish the first three books in Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns YA fantasy series, which are scarily addicting but oh so fun to read!

 The first book introduces us to the island nation of Fennbirn, where in every generation, a set of female triplets are born to be queen. Each one has a particular set of magical abilities and are raised apart from one another in communities that favor that young queen's powers.

At age sixteen, all three are brought together to fight to the death for the throne. Dominance over the island by a certain powerful group is also determined by which queen wins.

For the past several reigns, the Poisoners have maintained control over Fennbirn, placing a huge burden on Katherine, whose ability to absorb and survive the affects of various poisons given to her over the years is weak at best. 

However, the odds on favorite to win the throne back from the Poisoner crowd is Mirabella, one of strongest Elemental queens to come in a generation. While she is reluctant to destroy the sisters that are remembered only in her dreams, there is no denying that her control over lightning,wind and fire make her a force to be reckoned with:


The one sister who cares least about the throne is Arsinoe, a Naturalist whose powers have yet to manifest. It's only through "low magic" that she has been able to produce a familiar in time for the first ritual meeting of the three, a brown bear that she has limited control over.

Arsinoe's whole goal is to survive,period. With the aid of her best friend Jules Millone,who is far more powerful than most of the Naturalists, she is trying to do just that despite the increasing odds that she will be the first to die.

 With the return of a childhood friend Joseph(banished to the mainland for attempting to sail Arsinoe off of the island) and the arrival of William"Billy" Chatsworth, a potential royal suitor, the situation gets more complicated and gruesome risks are taken. When the sisters display their talents at the Quickening, a number of plans for and against each sister go awry, creating more conflict than ever before.

In One Dark Throne, much has changed for the sisters with the most dramatic being for Katherine, who was tossed into a deep pit known as the Breccia Domain(formerly used to dispose of defeated queens) and managed to make it out alive.

That move was made by Pietyr, a cousin of the powerful Arron family of poisoners, who thought that he was sparing her from a horrifying death due to a betrayal plot. Katherine's survival has given her a new life, so to speak as well as a change in her personality.

She is no longer the meek and mild mouse that the brutal life of poisoning has made her,rather Katherine has become a mysterious and deadly enemy who is all too willing to destroy her sisters in any way that she can:

By the time we get to Two Dark Reigns, Katherine has been crowned and her new rule is unsteady, with the protective mist that surrounds the island acting out in strange and violent ways.

Her sisters Mirabella and Arsinoe, along with Billy, have escaped to the mainland and are presumed dead by those on Fennbirn. They are doing their best to adjust to the very different way of life where women are not placed in any positions of power.

 Mirabella does not want to ever return to her homeland but Arsinoe is being haunted by dreams from a long ago queen that urge them both to go back home. Meanwhile, a rebellion is growing against Katherine and those whose magical gifts are in the minority want Jules to be their leader and new queen. She is beyond reluctant to do so but when push comes to shove, she can't help but join the fight:

This sisterly saga is truly compulsive reading, with a solid amount of character development and a rich world built by the author that feels so fresh and vibrant. If I didn't have to wait for the fourth book(Five Deadly Fates) to arrive in the fall, I would be reading it right now.

As it is, I am moving on to other things for this readathon and since we can add different genres, my current read is The Satapur Moonstone by Sujita Massey, to be followed by The Readaholics and The Gothic Gala by Laura DiSilvero. With TSM being a library book that happily came to me via hold, it's a good thing that Sci-Fi Summer was expanded like this, so thank you, Michelle! Choosing between a theme and a new read is difficult but fortunately, I and my fellow readathons can now enjoy the best of both literary worlds:

Monday, June 10, 2019

This year's Bad Movie Month has quite the Marvel-ous line-up

One of the traditions here at LRG is that August is known as Bad Movie Month, where once a week during that time, we take a look at some of the saddest examples of cinematic story telling.

For our theme this time out, inspiration is drawn from one of the better displays of long term story and world building.

No matter if you're a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe(MCU) or not, we can all agree that Avengers:Endgame was one of the major movie events of the year, rounding off over a decade of superhero films that successfully interconnected with each other as well as their respective audiences.

However, not all of the actors in those films have a solid stack of quality work on their resume. So, we then embark on what I'm calling Avengers:FilmFail. Since there are numerous characters in the MCU, our focus will be on four of the main Avengers-Iron Man(Robert Downey,Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow(Scarlett Johannson). Each of chosen cinematic stinkers has one of them in a starring role with perhaps a co-star from the MCU who, one way or the other, joins in the dubious fun:

DUE DATE: For Robert Downey Jr., I chose this 2010 road trip comedy and I can hear some of you saying, "Hey, this movie was a box office hit! How can it be one of your bad movies?"

Well, for one thing, just because a movie is financially successful doesn't mean that it's good-keep in mind, that Transformers flick that had King Arthur's knights in the mix(that will be important later on in this post).

Critics were less than thrilled with this movie as RDJ teams up with a "look how weird I am!" Zach Galifianakis as two unlikely companions forced to take to the road together, thanks to a misunderstanding at the airport. Yes, a terrorist joke is the cause.

As Downey struggles to get home in time to witness the birth of his first child, Zach plans to scatter his recently deceased father's ashes but little things like a "Stage Name ID" and a run in with the Mexican police tend to slow them down. This attempt at combining The Hangover with Planes,Trains and Automobiles sounds more a barrel full of headaches than hearty laughs. Also, Jamie Foxx, who played a villain in the Amazing Spiderman sequel, shows up to make this pick a bit MCU adjacent:

RED DAWN(2012): This remake of the 1984 warhawk movie was awful enough to earn a Razzie nomination and while the original film has the distinction of being the first American release to get a  PG-13 rating, this version made headlines for changing it's invaders from Chinese to North Korean(insert your topical joke here).

Hemsworth takes on the role originated by Patrick Swayze, as returning Marine Jed, who goes home just in time to help the locals fight back against the invading army suddenly at their doorstep. Why any invading force would go after a small town instead of a major city is beyond me but hey, gotta follow that original formula!

For a MCU connection, we have Adrienne Palicki(who played Bobbi Morse on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made for TV series) on board. As for the other actors, this is probably not the worst item on their resume but certainly not one any of them will want to highlight in the future either:

PLAYING IT COOL: I must admit that Chris Evans's performance as Captain America is one of my favorites in the MCU and I thoroughly enjoyed his take on Johnny Storm in those earlier Fantastic Four films.

However, while one of his FF co-stars(Ioan Giffurd) is the cast of this barely released 2015 romcom, this movie certainly doesn't sound fantastic. Evans plays a frustrated screenwriter who has to write a script for a romance before getting to work on the action movies that he prefers.

Feeling sour on love, he meets up with what seems like the perfect woman for him(Michelle Monaghan, who plays RDJ's wife in Due Date-is that a wild coincidence or what?), only she's engaged to someone else. Hilarity is supposed to occur but given that this film was pushed into VOD as soon as possible, that's more of a threat than a promise.

For a direct MCU connection, Anthony Mackie,aka The Falcon, was cast as Evans' agent and while those two always have great chemistry on screen, this isn't supposed to be a bromance. Then again, maybe it should have been-might have made things a whole lot better!:

THE ISLAND: Just listen to the premise of this 2005 big budget film: Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor are residents of a futuristic, isolated community where everyone dreams of winning a lottery that will take them to the title location for a chance at the good life.

But, surprise,surprise!-the two of them are clones, created as spare parts for rich folks, which was also the basis of a 1979 sci-fi flick called Parts: The Clonus Horror, which the studio had to play an out of court settlement for due to not getting those pesky rights to the previous material first.

What really sunk this movie at the box office and with critics,however, can be summed up in two words and one name-Michael Bay, who later on gave us that Transformers meets King Arthur film(see, I told you that was important to remember!). What could have been a decent sci-fi thriller turns into a big loud, blow-em-real-good type of movie that has an off kilter aftertaste, sort of like a peanut butter and sand paper sandwich.

The MCU link here is Djimon Hounsou, who appears in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel and for a MCU adjacent, the late great Michael Clarke Duncan, who was the Kingpin in Daredevil. While Johansson has made eyebrow raising bad choices in her film career since then, hopefully she learned not to make the same mistake twice. Then again...:

I was happy to see Avengers:Endgame and look forward to the next batch of MCU films that will start a new set of adventures for all concerned. Even so, you can't help but tease the ones you love and Avengers:FilmFail is out to do just that this August, so with tongue in cheek I say Excelsior!:

Friday, June 07, 2019

Setting up more summer reading in the shade of a library haul

Even though I am in the midst of a two week readathon(Sci-Fi Summer hosted by Seasons of Reading's Michelle Miller), getting more books to read is a vital necessity. Granted, not as vital as food and water but still, pretty important to my emotional health there.

Besides, I had to make a library trip, due to the fact that a book I placed on hold became readily available. Sujata Massey's The Satapur Moonstone is the second title in her new mystery series set in India of the 1920s and after enjoying the award winning The Widows of Malabar Hill, this was a definate must-read.

Once again, leading lady Perveen Mistry is asked to assist in a legal situation where only one of the few female lawyers in the country will do. In the small state of Satapur, the current ruler Jiva Reo is just ten years old, due to the untimely deaths of the prior maharajahs within the past two years. The remaining maharanis are in charge of Jiva and are debating whether or not he should be sent abroad for his education.

Since these regal ladies do not deal with men outside of their family, the British government, in the form of Sir David Hobson-Jones, wants Perveen to intervene for them. While she is not thrilled about putting forth the British agenda, Perveen is concerned about the young maharajah and sees this as a good opportunity to find out about the circumstances around the deaths of his predecessors. However, can she save Jiva from harm without risking her own safety?

With The Widows of Malabar Hill being such a literary treat, this book is as irresistible as a second slice of ice cream cake(hey, it is summer after all!) yet far more enriching than that chilly delight to be sure.

I paired that up with Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, where the modern day heroine of this story is Willa, who at age 61, leads a rather quiet life with her second husband Peter in Arizona.

When an unexpected phone call from a former girlfriend of one of her sons is a request for help, Willa feels inspired and with Peter in tow, takes off for Baltimore. There she meets Denise, a single mom with a nine year old daughter Cheryl and their dog Airplane, who is recovering from a broken leg due to a shooting incident in the neighborhood.

As Willa bonds with Denise and lets the locals keep their mistaken belief that Cheryl is her granddaughter, she also thinks back to her younger days and how bold she was then. While she can't be exactly as she once was, Willa considers the possibility of being less low key than she has been in her life lately.

Anne Tyler is an author that I read at on and off over the years but most of the time, she provides a smartly calm breath of fresh air that clears the cluttered cobwebs of my mind nicely. While her book covers may look mild mannered, her stories have more of an emotional wild side so as they say, it's what is on the inside that truly counts:

As to my Sci-Summer reading, I have added a new book that arrived today in the mail that I will most likely get to this weekend. Two Dark Reigns is the third entry in Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns saga that features a trio of magically powered sisters who must battle to the death to become the one and only Queen of the island realm called Fennbirn.

At this point in the story, one sister has claimed the throne while the other two are in hiding on the mainland, adjusting to the rather patriarchal way of life there. Meanwhile, an ally of one of the hidden sisters has discovered a power of her own that causes many to shun her yet attracts a group of rebels who want her to be their leader.

I would say more but I'm deep into the second book,One Dark Throne, right now and don't want to come across any major spoilers. What I can say is that this series is seriously addicting, the stay-up-all-night kind of reading that I really need these days. There is a fourth book due out this fall(Five Dark Fates) and that will be a tale that I will eagerly snatch up when the time comes:

Along side that series, I picked up a few more cozy mystery titles and that includes The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio. Having recently finished the second title(Poirot Puzzle), I thought it best to go back to the first book to see how it all started.

Amy-Faye Johnson supplements her busy life as an event planner by being a member of a mystery themed reading group, where she and her friends delight in solving those fictional crimes together.

When Ivy, one of the Readaholics, dies under suspicious circumstances that the police believe was self inflicted, Amy-Faye decides to take a page from her favorite literary detectives and find out what really happened. Can their latest book selection, The Maltese Falcon, be of any assistance in solving the case or should Amy-Faye and company stick to the bookish sidelines here?

Given that there are three books so far(and yes, I ordered number three, Gothic Gala, already), clearly Amy-Faye has more reading and sleuthing to do. I do like the good natured tone of this series and that classic mystery novels are a solid part of the theme of each book. That element certainly inspires some rereading as well as watching the great movies made from these iconic works:

Summer is supposed to be a slow down period but a reader's quest is never truly completed. As much as I'm eagerly devouring my Sci-Fi Summer books, plans are under way for the next big readathon, High Summer, which starts in July.

 My list is being made as we speak, with the newest Beatriz Williams novel, The Golden Hour, as a major pillar of that reading pile. Don't get me wrong, I love having a focal point for my reading but I do need to slow myself down a little at times to properly savor the sweets of the written word before me. Then again, it's better to have too much than too little when it comes to reading at any time of the year:

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Tuning in this summer for some page turning TV

With the arrival of summer comes the departure of most regular TV. Whether it's a seasonal break or the last hurrah, not being tied to your favorite shows has the advantage of being one of those pop culture pauses that gives you time to catch up on other things.

Since this is also that time of the year to tackle one or two of those stacks of books you've been meaning to get to, it would be nice to combine some of that reading with a new TV series to watch. Fortunately, I found at least three brand new TV adaptations that should make for good summer time reading as well.

First up is NOS4A2, which debuted on AMC this past Sunday and promises to haunt that prime time slot for awhile here. Based on Joe Hill's novel, Ashleigh Cummings stars as Victoria "Vic" McQueen, a young girl on the verge of graduating high school and trying to decide where she can take her talents as an artist in life.

Much to her surprise, she discovers a strange new talent that allows her to find that which was lost and to travel far beyond her reach via a covered bridge that only appears to Vic.  This new ability of hers attracts the unwanted attentions of Charlie Manx(Zachary Quinto), who also uses supernaturally hidden passage ways to take captured children to his twisted "Christmasland", where he feeds off of their innocence in order to maintain an unnaturally long life.

Recruited by a librarian with a special skill of her own, Vic tries to stop Manx from hunting down more kids, not to mention keep him from taking her out of the running permanently. Having read the book myself along with watching the first episode, I can truly say that this is one terrifying thrill ride that you don't want to miss:

I'm also looking forward to The Rook, set to start on June 30 as part of the Starz line-up. Adapted from the novel by Daniel O'Malley, the story begins with Myfanwy Thomas(Emma Greenwall), who wakes up on a dark street with no memory and surrounded by dead bodies.

Turns out, she had her mind wiped during a mission for the Checquy, a secret agency that she works for which specializes in supernatural people and events best hidden from the general public. Having no idea who is actually a friend or an enemy, Myfanwy has to track down the threat from within on her own.

If  I had to give this book a Hollywood pitch, it would go a little like this: "think Jason Bourne meets Men in Black and X-Men with a touch of Doctor Who". Hopefully, this upcoming series does much better than my attempt to summarize this amazingly creative story and with any luck, we might get a second season based on the second book(which I haven't read yet but really need to):

Arriving much sooner, Netflix is ready to begin their new version of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City on June 7.

Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis will be taking up the roles they played in an earlier adaptation of this iconic trio of novels set in San Francisco dealing with a variety of folks looking to change their lives for the better or just find a place that will accept them for who they are. Among the new cast members are Ellen Page(playing Linney's daughter) and Molly Ringwald in an unnamed yet reoccurring role.

I have to admit that I've heard plenty of good things about Maupin's Tales of the City books but haven't gotten around to them yet. Perhaps this new series might change all of that and there's no doubt that I won't be alone in doing so:

Pairing up a book and a movie is not easy as it sounds-it's more along the lines of finding the perfect wine to complete a fine meal. However, finding a good small screen adaptation can help you ease the guilt of just not being in the mood to read right now, which is something that every reader (myself included) experiences from time to time and nothing to feel bad about. Don't fight it when it hits, just let it ride until that literary lightning strikes you again: