Monday, December 2, 2013

Bellagrand Teaser

SO excited.  Paullina Simons posted a teaser of her new novel, Bellagrand, on her facebook page this AM.

Bellagrand is the sequel to Children of Liberty...and gives us "the rest of the story" about Gina and Harold Barrington!  Haven't read Children of Liberty yet?  You can check out my synopsis here.  (MAJOR spoilers, so beware!)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tatiana's Table Baking Day

LOOK HOW CUTE Tonya and Donna are on their (first annual??) Tatiana's Table Baking Day!  I love it!!!  And let me tell you...  I am lucky enough to have tasted Tonya's AMAZING cupcakes; these two are SERIOUS bakers!

Monday, September 9, 2013

History Learning Site: The Siege of Leningrad

Thanks so much to Clay, my friend and fellow Bronze Horseman fan, for telling me about this informational page about the Siege of Leningrad.  It's a really compelling read.

"Dogs and cats were hunted for food and stories emerged of cannibalism - freshly buried bodies were, according to some, dug up in the night."

Absolutely chilling.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pretty Rose Tatiana Dress

Julia sent me this link to ASOS where you can buy a pretty rose dress like Tatiana's (although I'm assuming hers didn't have such a plunging neckline.  LOL!)

This reminds me of the dress Paullina Simons shared on her Facebook page a while back.  Nice find, Julia!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Children of Liberty: The Rest of the Story

SPOILER ALERT:  I am finished Children of Liberty.

I cannot believe how wrong I was about this book before I read it.  If you are terrified - as I was - STOP feeling that way right now and listen up.

I am so glad I put my head down and trudged in.  Before reading this book, I had such disdain for Harold Barrington.  I thought he was a selfish non-human.  Now I see that couldn't have been further from the truth.

I wondered how anyone could willingly take their family into the inescapable dungeon of Communism.

But now I get it.

Harry was a product of his Victorian-into-Edwardian, upper crust environment.  Class defined you and you were slave to it at all times.  What you should do vs what you want to do.  What you must think vs how you wish to feel.  It's all so overwhelming (and yet, some people thrive on that kind of limitation and structure.)  I wonder if losing Harry's mother at 13 had something to do with his inability to nurture his own own feelings.

Regardless, money and status held Harry back in life...from his friends, from his family and most importantly, from himself.

In the words of Patsy Cline, one of my favorite singers of all time:  "I don't want to get rich...just live good."  Ain't it the truth!

My heart aches for Harry's inability to foster his emotions and speak up for himself.  Don't get me wrong, in many ways he was a spoiled brat who had zero appreciation for the life he lived on Easy Street.  Things he was given in abundance, others had to work their fingers to the bone to achieve.  And even then, they could only have a mere fraction of what Harry took for granted.  But honestly, this poor soul was never going to be able to crawl out from under that massive cloud of wealth and prestige, yet remain an accepted member of his own family.  Years of oppression can make a man so bitter, he doesn't know his own face in the mirror matter what tax bracket he falls under.

And because of that, I am so immensely glad I read this book.  Now I "know" Harry...and you should, too.  I highly recommend this prequel to those of you who love the Bronze Horseman series as I do.

My enormous thanks to Paullina Simons for not only writing this beautiful story, but also for sharing it with me.  :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Children of Liberty: Here it Comes!

SPOILER ALERT:  I am on part one of Chapter 12: Tulips.

"My Harry has invested in not one but two restaurants in Lawrence!"

I'm sorry...did someone just punch me in the stomach?  Because I can't breathe.  Oh Ben.  Poor, poor Ben.  I can't even imagine what kind of stunt you are going to pull now that you know what Harry's been up to.  Fly off to South America?  Stay and never speak to Harry again?  Steal Alice?  Oh the possibilities are endless!  I don't even want to keep reading because I'm enjoying this free falling feeling of "OH NOOOOO!!!!!"

"The suspense is terrible.  I hope it will last."  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Children of Liberty: Something Wicked This Way Comes

SPOILER ALERT:  I am starting Chapter 11: "The Quarry" in Children of Liberty

"No man is rich enough to buy back his past."  ~ Oscar Wilde

I haven't mentioned that I'm reading Children of Liberty because it's a busy time of year for me with school I don't have a ton of time to read.  For some reason, I feel this need to sign up to be a class mom every year...and between Christmas and the end of the school year, it's a wonder I don't have a substance abuse problem.

THAT SAID...there is no better feeling than having to put the book down RIGHT AWAY and blog...and I just had that feeling.  I can't stop myself, folks.  I have to say what's on my mind.

This book is fascinating because I am a sucker for class struggles.  And this book has loads of them.  There is nothing like a good Paullina Simons period novel to get you wistfully thinking of your grandparents and having an aching in your stomach to have them back again so you could ask them a million questions about their youth.

Having read The Bronze Horseman series, I know what happens to Gina and Harry.  That is the main reason I was terrified to read this book.  But I am on page 199 and they're nowhere near couple status.  Gina's got a crush on Harry...and he barely knows she's alive.  (Actually he pushes her, kicking and screaming, out of his head whenever she pops into it...but we won't get into my theories right now.)  And so far, although he reads 24/7 and takes political classes at Harvard, he has shown ("shown" being the operative word here) zero interest in politics, let alone Communism.  So I am now at the edge of my seat, wondering what is going to happen.

Once Harry decided to help Gina with Salvo's restaurant, I said "Here we we're getting down to brass tacks".

But what made me jump up and grab the computer??

Alice is happy Salvo quit the mill because he was nice to her?  Wow.  And I get it - it was over a hundred years ago.  It wasn't proper for him to smile at her...and she knew he was "interested" (who wouldn't be?)  But wow.  WOW.  He quit!  And she doesn't care.  And he needs the money.  And now he's going to open a restaurant and she's going to find out since Harry is fronting the loan...and she's going to remember Salvo...

Oh this just got completely DELICIOUS!!!!!

And I don't want to cheapen this beautiful story by blurting out my usual "oh no she di'nt" banter.

So I'll just quietly say:

Ho.  Ly.  Cow.

That's all for now.  I have GOT to go read!  Popsicles and teacher gifts be damned!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Bronze Horseman FILM

Sit.  DOWN.  No may need to LIE DOWN for this.

Paullina announced today that the Bronze Horseman FILM is going into pre-production by the end of the year!!!!


Apparently ITA Productions is using her script (THANK GOD) and she now has the tedious task of revising it so it will fit into the production company's desired timeframe.  That means cutting scenes, y'all.  But don't be scared.  PAULLINA is doing you know it will get done with conviction by the person who knows the story and characters best.

Last year I had the outstanding opportunity to help revise a script as well as be involved with casting and finally watch the film I worked on come to life on screen.  Let me tell you, it is a daunting task and Paullina has her work cut out for her.  There can be a lot of heartache involved when you have to cut certain scenes, but it has to be done in order to meet running time expectations.  And the casting struggle of who's right for the part vs who's available vs who's interested is a constant source of stress for months.  And you think about all of this 24/7 while trying to live your "regular" life in the pickup line at school and in the checkout line at Shoprite, a la Larissa Stark !  ;)

Bottom line...none of this is going to be easy for Paullina.  Unbelievably rewarding, yes.  But easy?  No way.  So let's all remember to be KIND to her from here on out regarding casting...and what scenes end up on the cutting room floor.

That said, let's discuss, discuss, discuss!


Guess what came today?!?  The copy of Children of Liberty I won in Paullina's contest!!!  I am beyond thrilled!!

My heartfelt THANKS goes out to Paullina Simons for being awesome, as usual, and sending me this book.  I can't WAIT to read it!

Hildy, et al - when do we start?!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bronze Horseman Charms

Check out these FANTASTIC charms Tonya just made!  She's making more...I'll post them when she's finished!