Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sleep with the Lights On...literally! (Reviews)

dear readers,

SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON
(Brown and De Luca: Book One)
Written by Maggie Shayne
genre: suspense, paranormal, thriller

4 STARS 


Rachel de Luca is a famous self-help author who does not believe in what she preaches.  She is sarcastic but in public she must keep up her image of positiveness.  Rachel lost her sight at a young age and has honed her other senses.  It is these senses that has Rachel looking into her brother, Tommy's disappearance. Tommy may be homeless and an addict but she does not think his disappearance is voluntary.

Detective Mason Brown was having a good until he ran his car into the blind author and then gets an alarming text from his brother.  He races home when he gets a bad feeling only to watch his brother blow his brains out.  Things only get worse when he reads his brother's Eric's note detailing his life as a serial killer of young men.

In a quick second decision Mason covers his brother's murder and talks his family into donating his organs.  Mason makes sure that his corneas go to Rachel.  Rachel has her doubts but goes in for the surgery.  Within hours she is having homicidal dreams and an uneasy feeling.  There has been the theory that a organ receipient gains some of his donor's likes and dislikes.  

Once Rachel lets Mason know what she has been dreaming Mason realizes that he may not be able to keep his bother's killing a secret.  And, worse the killing has continued since his brother's death.  Rachel will continue to dig until she finds out what happened to her brother especially now that she has her sight back.  Will Mason trust her to find the killer?

This novel is...creepy and good.  The idea of organ donors passing on their traits and/or memories was really interesting and the creepiness of the book.  Rachel's sarcasm and wit makes her an interesting and likeable character. Having a character like Mason who decides to obstruct justice makes you question everything.  Shayne is unpredictable and this makes reading this novel an adventure.

love, 
kris



The Marriage Mart: Reviews

dear readers,

Amanda Forester is a new author to me and the storyline for A Midsummer Bride sounded fun so I requested a copy. Then I found out it was book two so looked for A Wedding in Sringtime...


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


THE MARRIAGE MART SERIES
genre: historical romance

A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME
(Book One) 

4 STARS


Genie Talbot's debut into London society is the talk of the ton and has made her a leper to any future social engagements all because she laughed in front of the Queen.  Being a country girl she wants to return home but is afraid she will let her family down. Her Aunt has decided the best course if action is to get her married off soon as possible before she becomes a scandal like her mother (eloped with another man).

William Grant in part was the reason Genie had laughed and now the rogue decides to help her get invitations to London's best soirĂ©es.  While he is smitten with the young beauty he has vowed to never marry and knows he must leave the young girl alone.  Yet the thought drives him mad and they seem to get closer together.

Lady Louisa, Genie's cousin, has nursed and watched her fiancĂ© die and is now set yo marry his brother and heir, Lord Marchford. Marchford has returned home to set a date but finds his young bride to be distancing herself from him. The other woman in his life, his grandmother has set her heart to remaining in the estate and being the mistress.  Marchford decides to cut her allowance if she does not return to the country.

Penelope Rose has watched all her sisters wed and has resigned herself to spinsterhood at her youngest sister's wedding. She takes on a job as Lord Marchford's grandmother's companion.  The dowager has plan for them to make their own money so she can remain in London. The scheme is matchmaking and as plans are hatched and secrets kept this is soon headed for further disaster.


The gifts novel in the Marriage Mart series is bit only refreshing but quite adventuress. While matchmaking is the main game in the book there is espionage, affairs, secrets, elopements, orphans, mysterious characters, gambling and much humour.  There was a lot going on in this novel and many characters but I never felt bogged down or overwhelmed. It feels like a Jane Austen novel mixed with a little Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas for excitement. I loved the romance between Genie and Grant and their escapades with the orphan, Jem.  My only compliant with this novel was that the characters were not fleshed out more. As there were so many characters (and siblings) it takes away from getting to know them as individuals. While I really liked this read it is on the lighter side and more for a quick read. I will be continuing the series.



Amanda Forester holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a Masters degree in theology.  As a psychologist, she has worked as a clinical researcher and a university instructor (what they call you when they don’t want to give you tenure).  None of which has anything to do with writing romance novels.  After trying for many years to stop the internal storylines floating around her head, she finally gave up and wrote one down.  Now when she is caught daydreaming and talking to herself she can just say, “I’m plotting a scene for my next novel,” which sounds so much better than, “I’m hallucinating and responding to internal stimuli.”

Amanda lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, three lazy house pets and one destructive puppy who is part yellow lab part tornado.  
Amanda enjoys writing historical romance and splits her time between the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland and the lively banter within the drawing rooms of Regency England.  She enjoys researching the history almost as much as the writing, and attempts to provide the reader with a glimpse of the historical reality, though usually without the fleas. 



A MIDSUMMER BRIDE
(Book 2)

4 STARS

Madam X is back and is to help American Harriet find a titled suitor to fit into high English society. Traveling in the Americas a British ship looking for soldiers takes Harriet back to her estranged grandfather in England in hopes for a reward.

When Harriet's mother was a young girl her father, Lord Langley arranged her marriage to an older man she runs off with ship's captain. Lady Beatrice's father has not contacted or spoken to his daughter since she eloped. When his granddaughter has been dropped off at his door Lord Langley decides that this is his second chance. He looks to his ex-fiance and her companion to broker a match.

Harriet is loud, opinionated and loves chemistry as well as being very tall. Right away she is isolated by her peers and feels homesick. The only people that make an effort is Penelope and Lord Thornton. Penelope finds the American girl a bit odd but a genuine person. Lord Thornton cannot help but be interested in the tall chemist. When Harriet's dowry amount is announced the poor titled men start to hover by her but Lord Thornton starts to keep his distance. 



His father married for money to save his estate and it was a disaster and now he watching his father gamble away the estate. No matter what he will not marry for money even if he has an interest in a lady.

As the two debate their feelings for one another Lord Marchford is again on the trail for a traitor. What was supposed to be a small house party has turned into carnival.

I love Antonia and Penelope with their matchmaking. Antonia and Lord Langley's banter is cute as well as Penelope and Marchford's shy flirting. Harriet and Thornton's romance is sweet but at times I found Thornton a bit annoying with his insistence on not marrying a woman with money. Again the novel has several story lines and characters but it is getting more seamless. And I am glad my hunches from the first book turned out true in this book. So ready for the next one.


http://www.amandaforester.com/

love,
kris

Sunday, 8 December 2013

REVIEW: Redemption by C.J. Barry

dear readers,

This book has been listed as a metaphysical novel and I was not exactly sure what that meant...


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


REDEMPTION

(Soul: Book One)
Written by C.J. Barry (aka Samantha Graves)
genre: urban fantasy
4 STARS


To save her own soul Reya Sinclair has taken on the painful job of being a Redeemer.  As a man dies Reya offers them a chance at atoning for their sins based on free will. The only person that stands in her way is Detective Thane Driscoll.  Thane believes in justice...his own brand of justice.  He will do anything to capture the culprit even if it is the beautiful woman in black who has been present at a string of death.  Fate has other things in store for the duo and now they must work together to fight the dark.  And, also fight the desire they feel for each other.

I had no expectations for this novel and only knew it was paranormal fiction.  Reya and her job as a redeemer grabs your attention from the beginning.  The world within Redemption is nicely outlined and explained by Barry.  This novel is more paranormal (or metaphysical as the author labels it) with a little romance.  

love, 
kris







Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review: Every Waking Moment


dear readers,

Looking for a standalone romantic suspense...


Every Waking Moment
Standalone
Written by Brenda Novak
genre: romantic suspense, mystery


4 STARS

Emma has finally escaped her dangerous boyfriend is on the run with her diabetic son, Max. As she tries to put distance between the man who has ruined her life she worries for the ones who have helped her escaped. Max's father will not let her go and turns to a stranger, Preston for help. Preston has his own secrets and the last thing he wants is to care about someone.

My first novels of Brenda Novak were romantic suspense - The Last Stand series - and had me hooked. This standalone novel is Novak at her best. If you know about Novak's personal life you know her youngest son has diabetes. It is a cause she is active in and has great respect for. Emma's son, Max has diabetes and the way in which Novak writes about diabetes and about a mother and boy who have to live with it is written realistically. 



love, 
kris

Novak is Back with a Historical Romance: Through the Smoke

dear readers,

I have been a fan of Brenda Novak's romantic suspense when I read her Last Stand series. Next I tried Whiskey Creek and became a fan of her contemporary romance.  Only one more of Novak's romantic genre was left to try...historical romance... 


(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review).


THROUGH THE SMOKE
Standalone
Written by Brenda Novak 
genre: historical romance

4 STARS

Although Truman's wife Lady Katherine betrayed and taunted him he must find her murderer.  While his powerful in-laws are hoping he is hanged for their daughter's death he tries to find out who was responsible for the fire. After much investigating alongside his butler, Linley he turns to bookstore owner Rachel for answers.  Was her father paid to set Truman's house on fire? And who paid him to do it? 

Rachel meanwhile loses her mother and Truman's attention has turned the townspeople against her.  Without her bookstore and having to take care of her brother she takes Truman's offer to work in his household service.  

As the two try to stay away from one another Lady Katherine's murder seems to bring the two closer.  As they try to figure out the mystery the more desperate the murderer seems to become.

Brenda Novak started out writing historical novels and has returned to her roots with Through the Smoke.  This is my first historical novel by Novak and definitely will not be my last.  I read this novel in one setting and really enjoyed it. I like historical romances but the mystery and suspense in this novel just heighten my enjoyment.  If you are a fan of historical romances, mystery and suspense or of Novak you will need to read this novel!

*Through the Smoke was published October 15, 2013.


Read an excerpt on Brenda Novak's website:
http://www.brendanovak.com/bookshelf/historicals/through-the-smoke/

For more Historical Romances by Brenda Novak:
http://www.brendanovak.com/bookshelf/historicals/


love, 
kris

Newest WHISKEY CREEK novel by Brenda Novak: Review

dear readers,

I am in LOVE with Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series.  The characters in this series are so realistic and relatable.  I like that we meet most of the characters in book 1 and as the series continues we continue to see them grow.  These are not just novels about a couple coming together but about romances, relationships (friends and family) and life's up and downs.  It is not contained in just one novel but spill into the next book.

Brenda Novak has stated that these novels can be read on their own but I have to disagree.  To get the greatest enjoyment and to really understand the town and the characters it is best to start with the novella and read in order.  If you do decide to read them out of order please note you may get annoyed with the feeling that you are missing something.


Whiskey Creek:

When Lightning StrikesWhen Snow FallsWhen Summer ComesHome to Whiskey Creek
Take Me Home for ChristmasCome Home to MeWhen We Touch

 -When We Touch (Novella) 2012 
 -When Lightning Strikes (Book 1) 2012 
 -When Snow Falls (Book 2) 2013
 -When Summer Comes (Book 3) 2013
 -Home to Whiskey Creek (Book 4) 2013
 -Take Me Home for Christmas (Book 5) 2013
*COMING SOON -- Come Home to Me (Book 6) March 25, 2014





For my reviews of Whiskey Creek's novella and book 1 -3:
http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2013/02/whiskey-creek.html

For my review of Whiskey Creek's book 4:
http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2013/08/review-home-to-whiskey-creek.html


Now in time for the holiday season comes the newest Whiskey Creek novel (Released today October 29, 2013)...


(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review).


TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
(Whiskey Creek: Book Five)
Written by Brenda Novak
genre: Contemporary romance

4 STARS

When Sophia's abusive husband, Skip is first found missing she cannot help but hope he never returns.  When she discovers that he has drowned in an attempt to run from the FBI her life turns into a bigger nightmare.  Once Sophia and Skip were the golden couple with money and now with Skip's crime she is left with no money and the whole town has turned on her.  Skip cheated the townspeople of Whiskey Creek and now Sophia has to face their wrath.

Ted was once in love with Sophia and then she left him for the wealthy Skip which has left Ted bitter towards Sophia.  He won't even let her attend their coffee club.  But when the town turns maliciously against her he offers her a job as his housekeeper.

As Sophia tries to rebuild her life and reconnect with her daughter, Alexa, Ted tries to keep away from her.  He even tries to start a relationship with their mutual friend, Eve to make his point.  As they get closer to Christmas will the holiday spirit bring the two to forgiveness?

I have been waiting for Sophia's story since I first read When Lightning Strikes.  You have a spoiled mean girl who has now become an almost recluse because she is being abused by her husband.  While I enjoyed her story and her reconnecting with her young daughter, Alexa I was not impressed with Ted - her love interest and Eve her supposed new friend.  Even with the weak romance story I really enjoyed this novel.  There was so much to discuss with this novel and the characters in this novel keep you interested.



love, 
kris

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

REVIEW: Take Me Back - Again

dear readers,

(I received an ARC from the NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).




SALLY MANDEL 
 is the author of seven novels: Heart and Soul (Ballantine); Out of the Blue (Ballantine); A Time to Sing (McGraw Hill/Harper-Collins); Portrait of a Married Woman (Bantam); Quinn (Delacorte/Dell); Change of Heart(Delacorte/Dell), and Take Me Back, whichwill be published by DiversionBooks in September 2013. Change of Heart was on The New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. The film rights were sold to Columbia Pictures. 

Mandel spent two years writing for television’s Guiding Light and was awarded an Emmy in 1992. Two of her screenplays have been optioned and she is a two-time winner of the Montage/HBO Screenwriting Competition. 

She lives in New York City with her husband, and is at work on a new novel.



REVIEW: TAKE ME BACK 
Written by Sally MANDEL
genre: Literary Fiction

3.5 STARS

The matriarch Lily Adams is in the twilight years and is reflecting back on her life.  There is her granddaughter, Amy her kindred spirit and the love of her life, who rushes to be by her side when Lily takes a turn for the worse. She worries over Amy's lack of a stable relationship or career.   Stella, her only child, has never understood her mother and always takes life as it comes. She wonders if Stella will be okay and move forward in her life.  Stella's ex-husband, Steve is Lily's friend Grace's son and becomes like his mother in America. As her daughter's marriage falters she cannot help but be in her son-in-law's life.  Finally, there is her late husband, William whom she married because of his sheer determination to have her. 



Take Me Back is novel broken into smaller stories told from five characters point of view.  It spans decades giving us vignettes of Lily's life through her own stories and those most important to her.  Mandel's writing invites you in their lives as if you are a friend of the family.  The one drawback was the stories of Steve and William as they did not seem to add much to the story as a whole.  It felt almost forced rather than flowing with the women's section.  I would have liked more stories from the women and seen the men through their eyes only.  

The relationships between the three women are so rich but it felt a bit like you were just getting a taste of it when it ended. Yet overall, the ending was satisfying and left you still thinking about the three generations of women that made this family vulnerable yet strong. The sign of a good novel is that it still lingers in your mind days later.

I am looking forward to looking at Mandel's backlist of novels and trying another novel soon.

Change of Heart (1979)
Quinn (1982)
Portrait Of A Married Woman (1985)
A Time to Sing (1989)
Out of the Blue (2000)
Heart and Soul (2002)

love,
kris






Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Good, The Bad and Just Don't Read: Reviews

dear readers,

I read a few romances lately and here is what I thought:


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).



THE GOOD


BITE ME, YOUR GRACE
(Bite Me, Your Grace: Book 1)
Written by Brooklyn Ann 
genre: Historical Paranormal Romance 

4 STARS 

On the heels of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Dr. John Polidori's writes his own ghost story, The Vampyre. Written after a weekend spent writing ghost stories with Lord Byron. The novel hits the ton and begins a new craze and a new crazy.

Ian Ashton - lord of the Vampires in London - already has to dispel rumors of being a creature of the night by doing what vampires supposedly cannot do like standing in front of mirrors and eating garlic. Now with this new book that seems to know more than it should and some crazy loose on the ton - he has to deal with his neighbor Angelica Winthrope who wishes to be the next Mary Shelley.

Angelica wants to write, not marry a Lord. When her mysterious neighbor shows interest in marrying her she does everything to thwart him. Soon the aspiring horror writer and creature of the night marry and that is only the beginning...

I really really enjoyed this humorous paranormal gothic historical romance novel! It has the perfect blend of contemporary humor with Regency history. I myself love Mary Shelly and her novel, Frankenstein. The group she hung around with were great writers themselves and it was interesting to have them be an influence in this book. Lord Byron - can you write gothic without him? This is a great novel if you are not sure about historical romances or paranormal as it gives you a great taste of the genre.


THE BAD


WHERE MAGIC DWELLS
Written by Rexanne Becnel
genre: Historical Romance with Paranormal aspects 

3 STARS

Wynne is a seeress and guardian to 5 orphaned children in the Radnor Forest in Wales. The young children are results of English soldiers raping Welsh women and leaving them pregnant. Cleve, an English Soldier has come to Radnor Forest to search for one of those children who may be the heir to his kingdom. Wynne will do anything to protect the children as Cleve will do the same for his kingdom.

An okay historical romance that was a bit cliched and lacked the sparks between the hero and heroine.


AND JUST DON'T READ

EMMA: A LATTER-DAY TALE
by Rebecca H. Jamison 
genre: modern retelling of Jane Austen's Emma 

DNF (Did not finish)

This novel used too much of the original novel to be unique and was not interesting enough to keep reading.  Read about 45%.  Maybe the modern twist was in the half I did not read. I adore Jane Austen's Emma and Highly recommend you read that instead...or if you are looking for a modern-ish retelling try the movie Clueless.

love,
kris




REVIEWS: MYSTERIES

dear readers,

Here are some reviews for a few mysteries I have read recently.

INTO THE DARK
Written by RICK MOFINA 
genre: suspense, thriller, mystery

3.5 Stars 

Cold case detective Joe Tanner is trying to solve the murder of a young screenwriter and single mother of two.  As he reviews his cases he notices a pattern that might suggest that a serial killer had been on a killing spree at this time and now was dormant.  Using Mark Harding, an ambitious reporter he manages to bring the killer out of retirement and now is on his trail to discover his identity.

Claire Bowen is happy.  She loves being a psychologist and being married to Pilot, Robert Bowen. The only thing she is missing is a child.  She is unable to have children but continues to look at other alternative options.  Lately though she has noticed changes in her happy husband and lets her friend, Julie investigate him.

Robert Bowen loves his new wife and his job.  Everything is being to be perfect until he feels like his wife is changing their life with all this baby talk, and worse the police are taunting him.  The dormant dark side of him is awakening and his next victim is close to home.

Another great mystery by Rick Mofina.  We are aware of the killer's identity early in the novel but Mofina keeps the suspense going with the cat and mouse game and how it will go down.  The reason I gave this book a 3.5 versus a 4 is the ending.  The climax was way too rushed especially as slow as the beginning was.


UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY
(J.P. Beaumont: Book One)
Written by J.A. Jance
genre: mystery, suspense

3 Stars 

J.P. Beaumont a homicide detective in Seattle has a new partner and a new case of murder. A young girl is found brutally murdered and the first suspect is the religious group she and her mother belong to. At the little girl's funeral he meets Anne - a beautiful rich woman who is sociologically investigating young victims for her book. As Beaumont and his partner, Peters look into the murder he finds himself drawn to the young woman.

I have read Jance's Ali Reynolds novels and have found to be a good mystery read. I liked this novel well enough and it carried me to the end, but I do not feel the need to continue the series. I feel like I have gotten everything out if the novel that I needed. Beaumont also seems to lack the charm of liking the main character. He seems to have nothing that makes him outstanding. I think listening on audio made me give it a 3 versus maybe a 2


HOLIDAY IN DEATH
(In Death: Book Seven)
Written by JD ROBB

4 STARS  

It is the holiday season and Eve Dallas is bewildered at the task of buying gifts for those she cares about especially her billion dollar husband. As she tries to figure out her shopping a woman is found murdered in her apartment with garland around her throat and a partridge in a pear tree hair clip. As Eve investigates her murder another woman is murder in the same manner and the thing they had in common was they both bought services from a matchmaking company. As the killed targets the lonely looking for love Eve is trying to make it through the festive season which she finds harder than catching a killer.


Loved it. Eve Dallas is a great heroine flawed and insecure yet kick ass. I like the way Robb does not force her to become someone else but rather each novel chips away at her armor. It is done in a way that it is not boring or overly repetitive. Read her novella right after this one as it is almost a continuation piece.
  


MIDNIGHT IN DEATH
(In Death: Book 7.5)
Written by JD ROBB

4 STARS  

The story continues with Eve hot off a case that leaves Peabody indisposed so Roarke signs himself up as her deputy. David Palmer a sadistic killer has escaped prison and is going to kill everyone who had a hand in putting him away. As Eve races to recapture Palmer she is reminded of her past and those that love her in the present.


I perfect story - while I would have liked more background and chasing about i think this novella has the right amount of story and satisfying ending. It is less of a marketing tool (ie cliffhanger prequel that makes you buy the next one in order to know what happens) and more of an appreciative gift for fans. This tides you over (momentarily) until the next Eve Dallas book! 

 


love,
kris



Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Bath Quadrille...a perfect read for your bath: Review

dear readers,


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


THE BATH QUADRILLE
(The Bath Trilogy: Book One)
Written by Amanda Scott
genre: historical romance, cozy

4 Stars

Ned and Sybilla have lived more years apart than together in their married lives.  Neither can let the other lead and when rumors drive them apart Sybilla runs back to her family that relies on her to make it through life.  Ned is disgusted with her family and his own pride keeps him from asking his wife to return.  Sybilla feels her father and siblings need her and her fear that Ned loves another keeps her from Ned.

When Ned's mother reluctantly tells him that Sybilla has been send her letters asking for large amounts of money he goes to Bath to confront his wife.  Seeing one another ignites the once dimmed spark and when Brandon - Sybilla's brother - is injured Ned thrusts his help on her.  As they keep being put together they find it harder to part.

A fun romantic comedy set in historical times.  It's predictable and yet that is what is so great about this novel.  You know what is going to happen but still want to go along for the ride.  Ned is dashing and proud and Sybilla is independent and loving.  Add in eccentric fathers, a meddling aunt, scandalous siblings and you have a great afternoon read.

I will be reviewing the remaining two novels in the series in the coming months.



love,
kris










REVIEW: Grey Mask

dear readers,


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).


GREY MASK
(Miss. Silver Mystery: Book One)
Written by Patricia Wentworth
genre: cozy mystery, mystery

4 STARS

Margot Standing finds out her father has died and not provided for her future as his lawyer claims there is no will.  As Margot has no proof her parents were ever married her claim over her father's estate is now in the hands of her Egbert.  Egbert was not liked by father or daughter seems cavalier over his uncle's death and fortune.  Overhearing a conversation between her cousin and a strange man Margot discovers her life is in jeopardy. They wish to have her removed so there is no obstacle to the Standing fortune.

Meanwhile Charles Moray has returned home to take over this family estate. After his finacee, Margaret breaks off their engagement he travels to the East to rid his mind of her.  Upon his late night visit to his family home he walks upon strangers conspiring the death of a young heiress.  Charles is all ready to call the police when he spies Margaret among them and soon finds himself hiring a woman detective.  As Margaret, Charles and Margot try to figure out the mystery, Miss Maude Silver has it all figured out.


A fun novel from the late 1920s.  If you like the old classic black and white mysteries, old time radio shows or novels like Agatha Christie you are in for a treat.  Wentworth writes an engaging mystery but I wish we knew more about Miss. Silver.  Like Miss. Marple she is not the story but around the mystery.  I cannot wait to see where this series goes.






love,
kris

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Want to follow this blog...

dear readers,

If you wish to follow this blog and know when a review has been posted please follow me on twitter Kris Kaila@anoveladdiction or my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/anoveladdiction  Feel free to message me or make comments.  If you would like book recommendations please do not hesitate  to ask.  And, if you are an author looking for an honest review please let me know :)

love,
kris

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Review: (Live Theatre) Twelfth Night

dear readers,

Tonight I saw an adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at White Rock Beach (Surrey, BC).  For many years Vanier Park (Vancouver, BC) has hosted Bard on the Beach from May to September.  It has been a place to showcase local talent through the great words of the Bard.  It has evolved over the years to be a bit nicer and definitely a big ticket production.  Surrey, maybe being newer, does not have the reputation of culture and arts.  So when a friend mentioned that there was a theater company named Beach House Theatre putting on Twelfth Night I was pretty stoked.  The play runs for about a week and the tickets sold out within days of going on sale.  My friend being vigilant caught the update that they were releasing tickets for the dress rehearsal and bought us tickets.


The email reminder informs the patron:
1. that parking may be scarce so come early and be prepared to walk about 20 minutes if there is no parking in the lot -- parking was plentiful and really you did not have to park that far away even if you missed parking in the lot.
2. gates will open at 6:45pm -- liar liar pants on fire.  We arrived a little after 6pm and at 6:30 we wanted to confirm the time and were told after 7pm when in reality we were allowed in at 7:15-7:20.  AND then had to wait another 15 minutes to get in the actual tent...I would not have minded except I could not see why they were not ready on time as everything was bare minimum.
3.  to  confirm the gate opening was a trial as the box office was actually within the playhouse grounds versus being a bit out.  This did not have a welcoming feel and made it hard to ask any questions.  But if you are a "celebrity" watcher you can watch the actors walk in about an hour before opening. AND when we asked when we could get in they did not inform us that we must lineup.  After the heat and hunger we went to the concession stand and when we got back there was a line (argh!)
4. Holy smokes were the raffle tickets expensive - $20 and you could only pay cash!  Please note ticket was $19.95.  If you have the cash and the means the money does 100% go to the proceeding year's production and you can win a round trip flight to anywhere in North America.
5. They were fabulous at recycling - they had bins for recycling and rubbish and you could go paperless for the tickets.  Bravo! Once Gates did open you were able to get in fairly efficiently and quickly.
6. The venue is gorgeous and the set up inside is very beach pretty.  They had long tables draped in white table cloths with candles.  It was perfect spot to stand and eat your intermission snack.  The booths were nice set up as was the main tent BUT the seat were hard and not very inviting.  They did provide blankets from the cold (and in my case as a seat plumper) and sunglasses from the sun.  Those were much appreciated.
 
THE PLAY:

The play itself was a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The adaption was smooth and was so funny!  A few of the actors could play comedy well and add it with Shakespeare they showed their craft and expertise.  The actor playing the Fool was one of the best I have seen in a long while.  He had great expressions, mannerism, timing and singing talent.  The actor playing Malvolio was brilliant - his facial expressions and harrumphs had the audience in stitches.  The actress playing Olivia was brilliant in being indifferent and fluttering from one "man" to another. The actress playing Viola has great potential.  Her timing for humour was great and her chemistry with Olivia sparked.  Maria, Andrew, Tobey and Fabian were definitely scene stealers and really enhanced the comedy aspect of the play.  The actor playing Sebastian seemed a bit nervous and his performance a bit forced yet he had a likability and charm that made him watchable.  Unfortunately, the actor playing Orsino was a bit horrible. At times it felt like he was doing a parody of a horrible Shakespearean actor.  He overacted in his gestures and the only facial expressions he had was squinting and not squinting.  He paused several times in some passages where I was not sure if he had forgotten his lines or he meant it for his character.  He did not have any chemistry with Olivia or Viola and it was hard believing her love for him.  I think the comedic performances compensate for the lack of romance between Viola Orsino - but I still think Olivia and Viola had the best chemistry.

The performances have sold out for this season but sign up for their emails and I might just see you next year at a performance - I will be the one with a few blankets to make my seat more cushy. 

http://www.beachhousetheatre.org/contact


love,
kris