Review: Siren’s Song, by D.L. Snow

Siren's Song, by D.L. SnowA great new novella is being released today on Amazon. It’s Siren’s Song by the excellent D.L. Snow. Here’s the blurb:

After giving up fame, Joss Jones just wants a normal life.  Maybe she’ll find it in Bandit Creek.  Or…maybe not.  From the moment she moves into the old mansion she inherited, she’s stalked by a ghost who enjoys tormenting her before dragging her back in time to Bandit Creek, 1899.  Has she gone crazy or is this old mining town, full of saloons, gambling, whoring and fortune seekers her new reality?  It feels real enough as does the ghost who brought her here.  His name is Morgan Hawes and he’s a living breathing human being who is very much alive.  Is Morgan Hawes the key to Joss finding her way home or is Joss stuck for the rest of her life as the Siren of Bandit Creek?

When I started reading this novella, I absolutely could not put it down. Cleaning, dinner,… everything had to wait until I had devoured this story. Thus, I can say that you MUST check it out. An excerpt is up at banditcreekbooks.com, and it’s available on Amazon for purchase.

Movie: Midnight in Paris

Watching ‘Midnight in Paris’, written and directed by Woody Allen, is a bit like walking into a nostalgia shop, except the entirety of Paris is the shop. The film commences with a series of location shots of Paris, setting the tone and the scene for the rest of the film. For those familiar with the city, favourite haunts and landmarks trigger that nostalgic feeling. For those unfamiliar with the city, the montage might get a tad dull, though one would hope that an unfamiliarity of Paris would not preclude seeing this film.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is a Hollywood screenwriter visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. He’s obsessed with 1920s Paris, and one night after getting lost walking back to his hotel, at the very stroke of midnight, he’s picked up by revelers in an old Peugeot. He finds himself somehow transported to 1920s Paris, partying with F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, meeting Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein… it’s a veritable name dropping of ‘20s literary society. On his second visit, he is enchanted by a young woman dating Picasso. He falls in love with her, and returns to the 1920s via the car at the stroke of midnight to visit her, and to get Stein’s views on his unpublished novel. As their visit to Paris lengthens, his relationship with his fiancée is souring, and he has to decide what he should do with his life.

The film has an excellent ensemble cast: Kathy Bates as Stein, Marion Cotillard as Gil’s love interest Adriana, Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali, and Gad Elmaleh as the detective, among others. Corey Stoll especially was a delight as the very upfront and opinionated Ernest Hemingway. The film is an English student’s dream: my theatre companion squealed at the sight of T.S. Eliot, and then of Paul Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. I wonder if Woody Allen’s nostalgic Paris is the 1920s?

I know what era of Paris I would like to visit, should a car come for me at midnight… the 1940s-1950s, visiting the cafés and rubbing shoulders with the existentialists. But of course, you knew that, right?

Book review: Haunting Warrior

…by Erin Quinn. (twitter, website)

This is the second of Erin Quinn’s series (the first was Haunting Beauty, the third and upcoming is Haunting Desire).

I am nearly always wary of novels with time travel, particularly ones with a more romantic bent, as many seem to fall flat. The best of that particular niche, in my opinion, is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Haunting Warrior ranks close, as the quality of writing is high and the story is immediately engaging.

Rory McGrath is a man out-of-place: he lives and works in California and has not been back to his Irish homeland since he left at age 12 as a troubled youngster. Dreams of a beautiful woman and a visitation from a dead relative draw him back home, where he is lured into a cavern below the castle ruins, and transported back in time. His dreams have become flesh, but whether she is his ruin or his salvation remains to be seen.

I was immediately drawn into the story and I was unable to put this book down. If I hadn’t had to work, I would have finished it easily within 24hrs of cracking it open. The characters are engaging and the plot is solidly entertaining. Erin Quinn’s ideas on how and why Rory goes back in time are more original than most time travel stories, but I’m not even going to whisper any details so as not to give it all away.

This book is a fun indulgence you shouldn’t pass up if you like historical, or time travel, or both.

Star rating: 4 of 5