Murder on the Orient Express MOVIE vs MOVIE

I am ashamed to admit that I have never read an Agatha Christie book. I had tried to read one long ago when I was probably too young for such, and since then I’ve stayed away. Which is something I need to remedy soon. However, I loved Agatha Christie’s Poirot TV series. David Suchet was amazing, and while I didn’t read the books, it seemed that everyone who ever has said he fit the part perfectly. After years of watching him play Poirot, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing so, even though there have been plenty of others that have. I’ve seen a few of the older versions, and Suchet is still just the best if for no other reason than he’s a great actor and made Poirot’s quirks loveable. One of the things I believe made him such a great detective was that he had empathy for others. Even at times showing himself as a romantic at heart, while never actually being one to date. Which was ultimately why I hated his version of Murder on the Orient Express.

There was Poirot being overly cold and calculating. To him the law is the law, no matter what. It starts out with him solving a crime, and obviously not caring why someone may have done such and not caring about the consequences of revealing the culprit. He furthermore didn’t care that a woman was about to be stoned, simply because she knew the law and chose to break it. Even if the crime wouldn’t be one that any other country would convict for, much less stone someone for.

This over emphasis on his caring only for the law, and his supposedly seeing everything in black and white, especially in comparison to his past cases and how he handled them, it was blindingly obvious that ultimately he was going to be in doubt as to whether the law was right and would possibly be even willing to let the perpetrator go. Between the obviousness of the plot and seeing a beloved character suddenly act so out of character, I actually barely made it past the murder before turning it off. It wasn’t worth my time.

Now here’s this new man that doesn’t look like Poirot, especially with this over the top mustache. Knowing how much I didn’t enjoy the one with Suchet, I knew there was just no way I was going to like this one. How wrong I was, and I’m glad I did finally watch it. We actually get to see Poirot solving the case that was only barely referenced in Suchet’s, and we get to see him doing so in a way that was professional, but not cold. It was simply him showing his brilliance. Instead of emphasizing the law always being right no matter what, this Poirot merely showed how he needed balance in all things. That he sees the world as it should be, and anything that is off is painfully obvious to him. It shows a man that cares about what is right and wrong, that laws matter, but not necessarily that that’s all that matters. Which makes for a better Poirot, and a better movie. So I suppose I’m saying, that while David Suchet was a great Poirot, Kenneth Branagh did a good job as well, and I hope to see more with him in it.

Also his mustache wasn’t too bad in the end, and surprisingly might actually fit with how it was described in the books. I guess I’ll have to read them to find out for myself.

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Archangel Errant

BOOK 1: Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan

BOOK 2: Raising Chaos

Archangel Errant  description:

Divine intervention isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Gabriel didn’t expect his return to Heaven to be filled with trumpets and celebration, but he thought he would do more than sit at Michael’s side, listening to endless catalogs of unfulfilled prayers. He’s tried blending into every aspect of Heavenly life, but he can’t help but feel that the constantly praying Faithful and flower-dispensing Handmaidens lack the motivation to do any true good in the world. Some days, he longs for nothing more than to return to Earth and tell his beloved Cassia how he feels about her.

When Heaven is suddenly attacked, all the angels become trapped in their own nightmares. With Michael gone on an angelic mission, Gabriel must rally the remaining seraphim to rouse the sleeping angels and discover who seeks to take the agents of Heaven out of the celestial battle. All fingers point to Bedlam, but Gabriel can’t believe the ex-demon would threaten his salvation so soon after gaining it.

With few people he trusts, Gabriel must rely on all the lessons he learned on Earth to save Heaven, Bedlam, and maybe even himself.

BOOK 3: Archangel Errant  3 STARS

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it was an interesting insight into the purpose of the angels. What they care for and what they feared. Oddly enough, considering what the series is about, this is the first book that actually dealt with the religion itself. The previous had been more about the stories and what really happened, but this one delved into whether or not God is real and the faith of the people. However, the real thing that moves the story is the moments between Michael and Khet. More than anything, it was finally getting to see why Michael acts the way he does, and why he hates Khet. Yet, even as I enjoyed it, this book read like one of those episodes of a show that is nothing but flashbacks of how everyone met each other. It allows you to better understand the characters, and it was at least new information, but it left the plot itself rather thin and slow to move along. What bothered me the most though, was we never find out why Khet went to that hospital. It’s a loose thread, and I feel like Michael being driven mad because it wasn’t pulled in with the rest of the weave. Paltry complaints aside, it was still a good story and works well as a possible set up for the next in the series, which really needs to come out soon.

A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet  by  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  description:

‘There’s a scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.’

From the moment Dr. John Watson takes lodgings in Baker Street with the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, he becomes intimately acquainted with the bloody violence and frightening ingenuity of the criminal mind.

In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes and Watson’s first mystery, the pair are summoned to a south London house where they find a dead man whose contorted face is a twisted mask of horror. The body is unmarked by violence but on the wall a mysterious word has been written in blood.

The police are baffled by the crime and its circumstances. But when Sherlock Holmes applies his brilliantly logical mind to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of love and deadly revenge…

A Study in Scarlet   3 STARS

While I have read a few Sherlock stories, it’s been years, and so I figured I should start at the beginning. This was exactly the sort of story you expect from such a detective, and I loved how Watson and Sherlock came to be together. How they seem to get along, even as Sherlock is strange, Watson acknowledges his own quirks. The case itself was exciting right from the beginning. It was fast paced, and interesting how the police detectives were going about solving it in comparison to Sherlock’s own means. However, once it got to the part of giving background to the perpetrator the story slowed considerably. While it was nice getting a thorough account of why this man had done what he did, Doyle really dallied there a bit too long, and with far more detail to everything than there needed to be. I found myself just scanning over paragraphs describing the landscape and such, and even once we got to the final bit of the killers own testimony I was just ready to have it over and done with. Still a good start for the stories, but rather prefer the shorter tales to this.

Catching a Man

Catching a Man  by  Elizabeth Corrigan   description:

Kadin Stone’s life is finally going according to plan. She’s starting her new job as a homicide detective’s aide at one of the premier criminal investigation companies in Valeriel City, the capital of a 1950’s-style kingdom. Kadin is certain her new position will introduce her to any number of eligible men, so she’ll finally be able to get married and stop burdening the brother who insists on supporting her.

On Kadin’s first day, the royal family calls in her team to investigate the murder of gossip-rag cover girl Queen Callista. Kadin’s superiors think it’s an open and shut case. The queen’s jilted lover Duke Baurus DeValeriel had motive, means, and opportunity, but Kadin can’t help but spot holes in their theory.

After checking into a few leads of her own, Kadin inadvertently ends up in the confidence of Duke Baurus. When she tries to share what she knows with the rest of the team, she finds them unwilling to listen to the opinion of a girl who they know is only after a ring on her finger. In order to see justice served, Kadin finds herself doing the last thing she expected when she started working for a homicide detective—solve a murder!

BOOK 1: Catching a Man   5 STARS

I’ll admit, I went into this book thinking it’d be a fluff romance with a murder mystery in the background for a bit of plot. Instead it was an intense and very well developed mystery, that had twists you never saw coming, and an ending that left me completely surprised and yet the most logical. I loved that this was set in a 50’s style world, you get the clothes and the technology that is familiar to us for that era. Even the misogynistic views of women, where the only stable life for a girl is to find a man and get married while she’s still young and pretty. However, that is where the similarities to this world ends. Corrigan has built an entirely different society and government that vividly brought this world to life, and left so much to be discovered. I found it fascinating that here the medical field is run by the government, and so easily accessible to all, while investigations is the service you need insurance for. Meaning if a family member can’t afford or chooses not to pay for an investigation a criminal just goes free. Even the way women are rated, and what they go through to stay employed or to receive benefits, just shows how much thought Corrigan put into this. The mystery itself was also well calculated, and I loved how Kadin became a woman not just looking for a man, but one looking for justice. She was never the ditzy sort willing to do whatever to get married, she’s just a reasonable woman that understands the rules of this world, and doesn’t want to be a burden on her brother anymore. But more so, she’s clever and observant, and is willing to put her career and life in jeopardy in order to find the truth. Absolutely hoping there are more in this series to come, and it better come soon.

Seahaven: an Underwater Fantasy Adventure

Seahaven  by  Raymond Cain   description:

He’s reckless, impulsive, and barely eighteen, but Flynn Arcturus is the best damn pilot on the ocean floor. In his short lifetime, he’s dealt with angry sea dragons and seductive mermaids, but nothing could have prepared him for the death of his parents.

Flynn’s parents aren’t the first to die under mysterious circumstances. Many residents of Seahaven, the domed underwater city where he lives, are getting killed by seemingly random acts of misfortune. When he investigates, he discovers an ancient threat, imprisoned for centuries, once again endangers Seahaven.

Equipped with superb piloting skills and an extraordinary ship built by his genius brother, Flynn may be the only one who can save Seahaven. But when he discovers what he’s up against, he realizes he’s out of his depth.

BOOK 1: Seahaven  3 STARS

I’m not sure I should even give it 3 STARS, but the writing was well done and the idea was an interesting one. An underwater city that apparently has no idea about the world above, though evidence of wrecked ships and other bits show that it’s obviously taking place in our world. It seems they’ve lost a lot of their history and perhaps that’s why they don’t know how they ended up where they are. It’s an interesting mix of magic and advanced technology that allow them to live and function in their city, and yet oddly they’re not allowed to go beyond what is deemed the Safe Zone. From the beginning you get this hint at mystery and things that Flynn is trying to understand. Flynn being the main character is the focus of the story even though it’s in 3rd person. However, while he starts out as a hero type, saving a whale from bullies hurting it, and even feeling sorry for a mermaid who he believes may have gotten hurt while he was chasing it trying to get answers about his family, he quickly goes down hill. Yes he gets bullied, but he also does a lot to antagonize the bullies himself. More so, he can be just as cruel. He basically attempts to murder a water golem because it suits his own needs. And at first it may seem like water golems are nothing but magic used to make water beings to carry out undesirable tasks, it becomes obvious they’re more than that. Any being that can refuse to do what a person asks, and fight them off while trying to protect themselves, and screams (albeit silently) in pain is clearly not just some mindless drone but something that if killed should count as murder. Even though clearly none of the people there seem to care too much for them. Worse still, was the mention of stuffed merfolk on display, and those are definitely beings on the level with humans, and while any stuffed creature is creepy, that is downright traumatizing to think of. Plus while at first it seems he wants to go to what equates to a military academy to honor his parents, the thoughtful and loving act gets destroyed by his further adding that he really just wants to go to college in order to get a ring that’ll allow him into bars because he really wants to be able to get drunk like the guys he sees in them. So much of what started out to be a decent hero character becomes as unlikeable as everyone else in this book. He isn’t even set up to be a good anti-hero. So much of this book reads like a fun adventure for young readers, but then there’s parts that seem out of place and a bit too mature for such. Altogether, while it wasn’t horrible, it definitely had its issues that makes it hard to really care about what happens next.

Lily Luchesi has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Hi, I’m Lily Luchesi, and I’m the bestselling and award winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series and other stories. You can find me via the following:
http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi

http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi

http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

 

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

When I’m not writing, I’m mostly a homebody. I love to cook, read, watch TV, and listen to music. I’m also an avid fandom merch collector, especially Funko Pop dolls.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing professionally for two and a half years, and just released my eighth solo book, Never Again, which is a supernatural war thriller set between Israel in the 1500s and modern day, starring an immortal male siren as he fights against the demons the Nazis set upon the Jews.
I have written horror (paranormal and erotica). I love monsters, the creepier the better. But I make sure all my stories have a silver lining, usually a romantic subplot to give the reader hope amidst a lot of bloodshed. My Paranormal Detectives Series could also be considered a mystery series, as it follows a mortal detective and a vampire special agent as they search for various paranormal criminals.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

A prolonged exposure to the unnatural as a child. Growing up Catholic, I was immersed in spirituality from a young age. I was also exposed to ghosts and vampires and such as a toddler, and thanks to my mom leaving those old cartoons and black and white shows on, I found my love of the macabre and honed that in my writing.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I just finished and published Never Again, as I previously mentioned. I am now in the editing stages of my March 7th release, The Coven Princess. It’s my first dive into YA, but it’s still paranormal/horror, featuring a young witch who was born with mixed Dark and Light blood, entering adulthood while a Dark magic war is brewing. It’s my longest book yet at 100k words, and I am so excited!

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I just get ideas and jump right in. I find plotting ruins my creativity. I will work on two to three projects at a time, but mostly focus on one at a time so I can complete them sooner.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Good question. I think my strength is building realistic characters. All my women are independent, tough, intelligent in their own way. My men sometimes suffer from stubbornness, but they don’t succumb to toxic masculinity. That’s a big deal for me.
My weakness…I think too fast for my fingers to write or type. I often have to go back in the second draft and add detail.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Every author has something different that works. I am lucky to have a great publisher behind me (Vamptasy/CHBB Publishing) and they help me immensely. Having a core street team with ARC readers is a big help, too.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Don’t get discouraged. There will always be rejections, bad reviews, authors who are more successful. Be your best, write the books you want to read, and your career will build itself.

 

The Stroke of Eleven

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz

BOOK 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch

The Stroke of Eleven  description:

The adventures of Beaumont and Beasley are at an end.

The Council of Scions has finally caught up with Nick Beasley and his friends–and the sinister enchantress Madame Levesque has plans for them. Nick and Cordelia must solve an ancient mystery for her. Otherwise, Crispin and Molly will be lost forever.

The investigation leads Nick and Cordelia to the Castle of Basile, a bizarre place detached from space and time. Old friends are trapped there, and Nick and Cordelia are soon imprisoned along with them. Their jailer is the Fairy Godmother from the tale of Cinderella…who turns out to be far less benevolent than the storybook version.

A masked man offers to help–but can the White Rabbit really be trusted? What is Cinderella’s dark secret? And what will happen when the clock strikes twelve?

BOOK 3: The Stroke of Eleven   3 STARS

Like the other books, this was a new and rather dark twist on the fairy tales we know and love. After surviving on the run for so long, they’re finally captured. It’s interesting to be back dealing with the Council, as well as Nick’s dream Beast still coming in to play, and them finally questioning what really happened to Cordelia’s father. It helps to tie the stories together to develop this larger over arching plot, and not just a new case of the week. The building of the time loop, and how the world changes around them was fascinating, and practically apocalyptic. And while this is supposed to be about Cinderella’s real story, it was surprisingly more Beauty and the Beast than even the first book was. With the outfits, the song, and even living furniture making little debuts, which was rather charming. However, I found it ridiculous how the other magic users in the story kept ignoring Nick because he was just an ordinary guy, even if he is currently a beast. After all he’d done and the cases he’s solved, it felt like a rather strange turn of events to act like any idea he comes up with couldn’t possibly be worth their time. Also, while this story had so much to offer, and a lot of questions were answered, as well as plenty of plot lines that could build for more stories, it ultimately ended up being rather predictable. The “big reveals” were more of a confirmation of what you already knew. It was a good book, but just wasn’t on par with the previous stories. Even the whole sci-fi bit of Doctor Who style clockwork people and robots really tainted the normally magical aspect. Plus there were a lot of typos. It feels like Shultz may have rushed this story. I still do look forward to see what happens next, especially after that ending which really makes me wonder which Liddell was in that locked room.

The Last Days of Lady Cordelia

The Last Days of Lady Cordelia  by  Kyle Robert Schultz  description:

Lady Cordelia Beaumont is dying.

That’s what her mysterious nurse tells her, at least. Even worse, her magic powers have abandoned her, her friends are missing, and her whole world has completely changed. Everyone around her is insisting that magic and fairy tales aren’t real. Even the name of her city is different. She’s not in Talesend any more—she’s in a place called London.

Cordelia is determined to return to her own reality, but dark forces are working against her. An old friend may be able to help—but he doesn’t remember who she is.

Who are the Neverwolves? What is the secret of the Shadow Parallel? And how can Cordelia use magic to escape from a world where magic doesn’t exist?

BOOK 1: The Last Days of Lady Cordelia   4 STARS

Honestly this shouldn’t really be considered a series all on its’ own. It’s really just part of the regular Beaumont and Beasley series, like maybe BOOK 2.5, because it seems to pick up where The Tomb of the Sea Witch left off. Although it is taking place in a sort of other world, it wouldn’t really make sense without reading the other 2 books. However, it is a rather short story, but an interesting one that does promise a more intricate plot later on. I really loved the idea of the Neverwolves, and how this isn’t just some throwaway short story that can be easily done without. It’s a really good tale, and one that didn’t need to be a full book, but definitely makes me want more. The only thing is that it did need better editing. There were typos that could’ve been easily fixed with another read through. Regardless, worth the read and can’t wait for the next one.

Murder in Little Shendon

Murder in Little Shendon  by  A.H. Richardson  description:

MURDER IN LITTLE SHENDON Picture, if you will, a picturesque village called Little Shendon, suddenly caught up in dealing with a murder of one of its citizens – not a particularly well-liked one at that. Which makes it all the more intriguing because the list of suspects becomes very long. This tantalizing tale unfolds with delightful twists and turns to find out whodunit to Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, the murdered shopkeeper. Fear grips the community as the investigation slowly progresses. Everyone is interviewed; everyone is suspect! From the murdered man’s housekeeper to Lady Armstrong, her staff and her nephew. Or could it be the shy librarian new in town? Or the defiant retired army major and his ladyfriend, the post mistress? Or perhaps the weird sisters who live on the edge of town? Then there is the couple who own the local inn and pub, along with the two Americans who are staying there? Even the vicar and his wife fall under the gloom of suspicion. Uncertainty, wariness, and terror reign as neighbors watch neighbors to discover the evil that permeates their upturned lives. No one feels safe in this charming little village. A.H. Richardson, noted author, places in your trembling hands a mystery murder that will keep you reading until you learn the details, uncovered by Police Inspector Stanley Burgess and his two amateur detectives, his friend Sir Victor Hazlitt and the famed Shakespearean actor Beresford Brandon. Scratch your head with them over the strange clues that turn up. Follow them as they tread carefully among the landmines that appear innocent as they lie hidden beneath the surface of mystery. Something evil skulks in this tiny country village. Who is the murderer? And why was this strange uncivil man dispatched in such a seemingly civil community? You are challenged to discover the culprit before the last few pages. And no fair looking ahead – it’s the journey that proves the most enticing.

BOOK 1: Murder in Little Shendon   3 STARS

This book has an interesting premise, and a mystery that enjoys its’ share of twist and turns. The cast of characters are varied, which helped move the story along. It’s failings, though, begin with the setting. I’m not really sure when it is. The further you get in the more you can figure it’s some time right after WWII, I’m guessing, but it was rather odd not having an exact way to know. Which is even more strange, considering how factual the style of writing is, for it to not give you this one fact that would help create the image of the world better in your mind. And yes, the writing style was very matter-of-fact. You meet a person and the author gives you a detailed description of their looks along with little habits they might have and their level of intelligence all right off the bat. It’s a lot of tell and very little show. You don’t really get other characters perspectives of whoever you’re dealing with. It makes for a rather one-dimensional view, because the author just tells you exactly what is happening in a straight forward manner that can make it almost monotonous. They hang up the phone, they let their hand linger, they think about the conversation and then they turn to do whatever action they’re about to do. It’s very precise, but it’s not exactly the sort that brings things to life. And in being precise, Richardson also gets repetitive. Information that is in no way important will be repeated ad nauseam, and after a while it just feels like filler to stretch the story out. An okay book that could’ve done with better editing, and a little livening up.

Rosehead

Rosehead  by  Ksenia Anske  description:

Misunderstood and overmedicated, twelve-year-old Lilith Bloom finds the prospect of a grand family reunion decidedly dull… That is, until she discovers that the rose garden surrounding her grandfather’s Berlin mansion is, well, completely and utterly carnivorous. Armed with Panther, her talking pet whippet, and the help of the mute boy next door, Lilith must unravel the secrets behind the mysterious estate, all while her family remains gloriously unaware that they are about to be devoured.

Rosehead  2 STARS

In many ways this reminded me of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. Where it’s only Lilith and Ed who see the truth of the sinister garden and her grandfather, while all the adults are oblivious and think the children are lying, and toss in Lilith’s use of “big words” and you can’t help but see the similarities. In most ways this really reads like a Young Readers book. It’s fun and fanciful with a possibly murderous garden and talking dogs, and it’s kids saving the day. However, it’s almost like Anske isn’t sure if she wants it to be for young readers or adults as she delves into topics that seem a bit too mature and out of place for the tale. Such as Lilith’s parents putting her own medications and arguing over what they see as a mental disability. It’s practically borderline abusive. Then the talk of suicide and so much death. Even how Lilith talks, while it’s nice for her to sound intelligent for her age, it’s off putting how much she just doesn’t sound like a kid at times. What ultimately dropped it stars was in part the typos, which aren’t too many, but they’re noticeable. And the somewhat repetitiveness of the characters going over the same ground again and again, both figuratively and literally. But more so, it’s basically solved from the get-go, there’s no real build, there’s no spooky hints to create a sense of mystery, it’s more about Lilith knowing what’s really going on and everyone thinking she’s completely insane. It makes it a bit frustrating to get through.