Bleu Reviews: Mirror, Mirror

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Rating: 3 out of 5

Gregory Maguire is still one of my favorite authors but Mirror, Mirror is sadly one of my least favorite books by this author. It’s tragic because I really wanted to love this book as much as I love much of his other works. Mirror, Mirror wasn’t a poorly written book but it definitely didn’t inspire me to read on.

As far as his body of work goes, the same tools and tricks he uses to craft and ensnare us with his other stories are utilized here. Maguire infuses reality and history into a fairytale as old as time itself, while finding a way to draw forth a deeper moral to the screenshot_20190124-220719_chrome4007441423460780054.jpgoverall concept, making us look closer at our childhood bedtime stories.

This time however, I found the story weighed down with too much historical context. This time around I felt sequestered on an island. It dragged on like the years Vicente spent in prison. I too was trapped, between my desire to finish the book and my inability to completely buy into the history lesson.

Maguire’s retelling of the Grimm’s classic Snow White, takes us to Montefiore. A luxurious farm nestled high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria. We meet our main character, seven – year – old Bianca de Nevada and her doting father Don Vicente.

Vicente is sent on a religious quest by the unscrupulous Cesare Borgia and his sister, Lucrezia leaving innocent Bianca at the mercy of the two wicked children of the corrupt political family.

96700515d6979b8a8e4dc940e9856c4f6444981157864553769.jpgSnow White’s tale has always been about purity and innocence and this version was no different. Maguire’s Mirror, Mirror added another layer of depth toying with the theme of influence and how influence can effect and alter another’s existence.
We saw how the influence of Pope Alexander VI shaped his children and led them ultimately to their demises.

How Vicente’s influence kept Bianca on Montefiore, how Primavera and Fra Ludovico were able to protect the young girl with whatever little influence they had. How Bianca’s mere presence was enough to change the dwarves.

We watched the transformations of each main character in the book as the story crept on at it’s snails pace. The intention seemed to be to give context. Snow White’s was a slow systematic manipulation at the hands of Lucrezia. A years long evolution in what seemed like a chrysalis stage ending the final if not abrupt emergence as a fully physical formed young woman, gullible but seemingly of age.

Vicente’s evolution was more a literal withering of his body and at times his mind. He remained determined to her back to his daughter despite the challenges he’d faced.

Lucrezia Borgia’s evolution was more a literal transformation, when we are introduced to her she is at the height of her power both physically and politically but gradually falls away. In time Lucrezia’s own vanity strips her of everything and her relentlessness drives her to her death.

Maguire’s interpretation of Snow White showed a young girl who was always isolated. Shyer than most, she possessed a curiosity that was often outweighed by her meekness. I rooted for our heroin to some day be rejoined with her father but even more than that I fc624855b3c17871e57bfcfe49791c892177338806584808463.jpgrooted for our heroin to save herself.

This Snow White didn’t seem like the main character at all. The action happened around her or to her but never as a direct result of her. In fact the entire catalyst of her story was in reaction Cesare Borgia and not the young girl directly.

This may be why the book dragged on for ages. It took me about four months to finish reading it in its entirety, partly because I knew how the story would end. I wasn’t waiting for some great plot twist or any alterations to the basic story line. There was instead a more pensive waiting to see how the author would unfold the common tropes of Snow White.

His delivery though overwhelmed with backstory and scenery did not disappoint. We witnessed Maguire masterfully craft the magic mirror, then shatter it’s magic with science before shrouding it with myth again. Maguire unpeeled the layers of the queen’s depravity and her spell-craft and even gave meaning to the high position the apple screenshot_20190124-220930_google2242974854855260815.jpgplayed in the story. The apple which has always been a symbol of purity and wisdom. A religious scion to relate to, a means of temptation especially when paired with the feminine mystique.

Maguire’s apple served as not only a means to begin the story but a common thread tying all the tales loose ends together. The apple which once tempted Eve in her garden drove Lucrezia to insanity and murder. A nod at how even the semblance of influence is enough to alter one’s behavior.

Overall I did enjoy the book. I’m rating it 3/5 because I wouldn’t force myself to endure it a second time but definitely would recommend reading it if you’re a fan of Maguire’s books. If you enjoy a good fairy tale or like adult adaptation’s of children’s stories than this book is great to add to the list.

For me I get to scratch it off my Gregory Maguire bucket – list and move on to my new read.

 

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What Is Your Favorite Snow White Re-Telling?

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

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Renegades Read Along (Chap 1 – 15)

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Currently Reading: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

I was having some trouble getting through my read of Renegades and was hoping to add some excitement in hopes of finishing the book. So this is me trying to spice things up with what will hopefully be a new permanent addition to the blog. For more on what I thought about the first fifteen chapters watch the video below!

 

 

What Do You Think of The Book So Far?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Be Expo 2018: Children’s Books for Kids of Color

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My weekend was one to remember for sure!

A few weeks ago when I was obsessed with the flower show! I should’ve been researching and getting my hustle on for the 2018 Be Expo! I was fortunate enough to grab a ticket, even scored me some expo swag. 20180317_1711011066486878.jpg

The BeExpo was sponsored by Radio One Philadelphia, and is one of THE largest expose catered towards promoting diversity and empowerment in the city. The vendors were local, some were faces you may have seen at others festivals.

I have a weird relationship with crowds; as more people flooded the convention center’s walking space, I realized that it would soon be time to leave. Just before we ended our day however, I was able to snag a peek at the cover of a book. It was Pinnochio, and I didn’t actually by that book. Instead I purchased, The Adventures of Jahloni & Jahbril,  a story about two Rastafarian boys who become superheroes after finding a magical ancient book hidden under their parents bed. The book sends them 20180317_1717121960211158.jpginto another universe filled with Dinosaurs and new adventures. The Adventures of Jahloni & Jahbril is best suited for ages 6 to 9. Urban Toons will be expanding into the world of apps for kids, but started remixing common beloved fairy tales, and setting them in a locale that children from different backgrounds would be familiar with. Urban Toons is also based in Philadelphia, so I’m even more happy to show support.

 

The other hidden find of the expo was a booth I’d walked right by when we walked into the event. A circle of20180317_190439909092533.jpg people crowded my view and I wasn’t able to get a look at what was being sold. Luckily as we were leaving I was able to catch another author selling his children’s book. There was a series called “Aron’s Adventures” also featuring an african american as the main character.screenshot_20180322-1956041630791066.jpg

The author Nahjee Grant was kind enough to speak with me briefly about his series. He is also the creator and host of the children’s TV reading show Really Exciting and Delightful Stories and travels to various schools as a motivational speaker. His Cool Smart Kid books, are geared towards people of color and at risk youth.

My day at the BeExpo was one for the books, I met many more authors, but that’s for another post. If you missed out, be sure to grab your tickets early next year. The event featured workshops, panel discussions, health screenings, and shopping at vendor’s booths.

 

What’s Your Favorite Children’s Story?

Leave A Comment Below!

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You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

My Netflix Addiction: What Happened To Monday

Sounds very much like a coming of age tale or some fuzzy Rom-Com but don’t let the title fool you. This movie is anything but rosey. 
Set in the future, after the human population crisis caused the world to literally run out of food, a genetic mutation made creating food more feasible but the artificial substances in the food caused an insurance in multiple births, ( twins, triplets, etc.) Thus exacerbating an already existence conflict, Overpopulation.

The solution made by Glen Close, a one child per family rule. William Dafoe, plays a man with a big secret, he’s allows his late daughters seven daughters to live as one person. Named for each day of the week, they assume the identity of one Karen. 


One day Monday’s Karen goes missing and it all unravels from there.

I do enjoy a good suspense movie and What Happened To Monday, offers the perfect blend of mystery, action and emotion to make this movie great for any Netflix & Chill session. 

My Netflix Addiction: Salem

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I’ve always had a special interest in the Salem Witch Trials, as a wiccan enthusiast and avid history buff. I’ve seen The Crucible more times than I can count both on stage and on screen. The crucible and the Salem Witch trials as a whole have been used in many political science classes and I’m sure many others as a prime example of what panic and fear can do to a community.

Throughout history when the government was searching for communists or terrorists we caution them not to start a “witch hunt” advising our present day rulers not to make the mistakes of the past.  The Salem Witch trials, for me has always been a favorite subject to research.

As usual my Saturday morning was spent scanning through my Netflix queue wondering what new show I wanted to see. I just finished watching Ozark and was in a period of mourning for my loss of something to watch.

Enter Salem, a show that initially I’d assumed would be a repeat of the cast and crew  of the crucible. Opening several years before the show explores the lives of Mary Walcott and John Aldan, young lovers being forced apart by the cruel George Sibley, head and councilor of the selectmen board, and one of the founders of Salem. John was being sent to fight in the French and Indian war leaving Mary in Salem alone. salem title card

Before the end of episode One we see that she and slave Tituba magically abort the baby she carried by John to protect them both form the persecution of the puritans.  Years passed and we see the Mary has married the wicked George Sibley but also, has become a witch embarking on her grand rite. Of course John comes back to complicate things.  The retelling of the Salem Witch trials plays out with the witches being behind it all. A secret which means the noose if it was revealed.

I’ve gotten my boyfriend hooked and so as of now we’re re-watching season One. Each episode is approximately an hour so I’ve made it to episode 6. It comes on WGN but all 3 seasons are currently on Netflix. I read somewhere a petition was going around to get the show back on air as it was cancelled after season 3.

That will be a burden for a few weeks from now when I’ve finished binge watching the first 3 seasons.

 

Have you seen Salem? What did you think? Will you be signing the petition? Let us know in the comments below!

Weekly Wanna Watch List 

Last Weekend Annabelle Creation smashed the box office grossing 35 million in sales for the No 1 spot and i’m just waiting for $5 Tuesdays at the Rave to avoid the crowd. As always we have a healthy mix of fantasy and horror and rounding out our Weekly Wanna Watch an action adventure. Check out the trailers and my picks for this weeks wanna watch!

 

The Shape of Water

I’ve never acctually heard of this movie prior to prepping for today’s post.  Octavia Spencer happens to be one of my favorite “newer” actresses. I have yet to  see a movie with her in it that I didn’t love.  Seeing her name amongst the cast definitely made me consider watching the trailer.

Though the title sounds like that of a romance novel, and perhaps there is a bit of romance foreshadowed here in the trailer, The Shape of Water is actually a Sci-Fi/Fantasy and aquatic lore. Based in Cold War America (approx. 1963) Elisa a mute woman working in a high-security government lab discovers a merman and strikes up a friendship.

If that isn’t enough to stoke your interest, this movie is directed by Guillermo del Toro. A writer/director i’ve recently become obsessed with. I may actually go see this film in theatres, if not i’ll be adding it to my Netflix queue for sure.

 

 

Annabelle Creation

My love of horror movies can be attributed to my late grandmother Josephine Shepherd who i’m sure would NOT watch this movie if she were alive to do so, because it’s that’s damn scary! I on the other hand will most certainly be going to see this film as soon as the crowds of crazy movie talkers dies down.

The fourth installment in the Conjuring  franchise, and the long awaited prequel to demon doll Annabelle, Annabelle Creation finally explains why and how the demented marionette came to be. Years after he and his wife, Esther, lose their 7-year-old daughter Annabelle in a car accident they welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. As usual in these situations one child sneaks into a forbidden room and finds a not so innocent doll with a life of her own.

I just want to say I. Will. Be. Seeing. This. Movie ! That is all.

 

The Dark Tower

 

I am a huge Stephen King fan and my fantasy romance with Idris Elba has been ongoing since The Wire. That being said i’ve never actually read any of the Dark Tower series but given the buzz the movie is getting I’m willing to add this to my TBR list also.

If you’re unfamiliar with the storyline; Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. The ultimate plays out on the big screen in this film directed by Nikolaj Arcel

 

Polaroid

As much as I love a good screamer flick, I love my cheesy B-List horrors movies just as much. The ridiculous scenerio’s that only happen to teens, absentee parents all that converge on a small town with inexplicable consequences. What’s not to love?

In Polaroid, Bird Fitcher is a high school senior and resident loner finds an old school polaroid camera and starts using it. Soon she discovers the camera’s dark qualities when everyone who’s picture she’d taken meets a strange and tragic death.

Be sure to check out the trailer to see for yourself!

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Blake Lively is super lucky to have Ryan Reynolds as her beau. Rugged good looks, washboard abs I don’t even know what this movie is about and I wanna watch it just to get a glimpse of Ryan with his shirt off. Add Samuel L. Jackson to the cast list and this movie sells itself.

 

Need more convincing?

The world’s top protection agent is called to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hit men. The two have been on the opposite end of battle for years and are thrown together for 24 hours. During their journey from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a ruthless Eastern European dictator out for blood.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it? That’s why i’ll be getting a ticket to see this one on the big screen!

 

Which movies made your wanna watch list? Have you already seen some on this week’s? Let us know in the comments below!

My Netflix Addiction: Hemlock Grove

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Remember when Netflix had Max, the feature that recommended movies based on your preferences. I miss that guy, he made being lazy super easy. Just before his abrupt departure Max recommended this based on my interest in magical TV shows and dark story lines.

The first season was a bit confusing but weird enough to get me to watch it through to the end. Femke Jensen and that kid from Degrassi were among the primary cast and they did a great job. The acting on the show is amazing.

I later found out that it was also a book series. I may actually try reading because my interest in the show fizzled midway through season three. There is a lot of incest in this show. Some pretty gross blood play and what I assume would be attempts at true to life gypsy rituals which are still pretty icky.

All in all, the show just got to be too confusing, when you have no idea what’s happening in an episode that’s your sign to bail. I may revisit Hemlock Grove again someday. It really only takes an episode to win me back to a show’s side.

 

Have you seen Hemlock Grove? What did you think? Did you also read the book?