This is the place for friends to talk about books, movies, music, food, and everything fun!

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Mailbag

Dear Readers,

Busty reminded me that it's March 31st, and we haven't dipped into  the March Mailbag yet. We'd better hurry, so let's get started.

I see the first letter is addressed to Busty Cat. What a coincidence, I wonder if somebody peeked! 

       Dear Busty,
I've never known of anyone named Busty before. How did you get your name?
                    Signed, Paula the Persian

Busty Cat: My human found me wandering the streets of Liverpool, and took me into his family home. They wanted a boy cat, so despite my diminutive size and gentle, feminine ways, they assumed I was a male and named me Buster.

By the time my new doctor gave them the news, that I'm a female, we were all getting used to the name Buster. To their credit, they feminized my name as best they could.

I like the name Busty. I think it suits me.

Lilly Faye: Thanks for sharing that personal story, Busty. 

Our next letter is for Alfie. 

Dear Alfie,
         Why don't you appear on the blog more often? We're big fans!

       Suki and Yaki, the Siamese Littermates

Alfie Cat: It's because I'm so beautiful.  The others are jealous. They can't handle the competition.

Lilly Faye: Ha! That's funny! The truth is, I'm fresh out of back-scratch creme, so I'm trying to keep my distance from Alfie until I can get my prescription renewed.

Here's a question for Dizzie.

    Dear Dizzie,
    Is Dizzie your real name, or a nickname? Does it mean you're a 

    Signed, Shep

Lilly Faye: You'd better take this one, Diz!

Dizzie: I beg your pardon, Shep. I may occasionally display the naive exuberance of youth, but like all Portuguese Water Dogs, I am extremely intelligent.

Despite the spelling variation, I was named after Dizzy Gillespie, the greatest jazz trumpeter of all time.

My first cousin, Bo, who lives in Washington, D.C., is named after Blues great, Bo Diddley. 

Lilly Faye: Okay, thanks for that, Diz.

It looks like we have one last letter. This one is addressed to me.

Dear Lilly Faye,
          I wish you'd blog more often. I love reading about the comings
      and goings of you and your friends, and getting a behind-the-
      scenes look at the blog!

      Signed, Foxy the Hound

Lilly Faye: Thank you so much for your kind words, Foxy! Readers like yourself make all the hard work worthwhile. I'll try to bring you more updates in the future. 

Dear Readers, remember, tomorrow is April Fool's Day, so stay on your toes and don't be fooled!

Love Always,
Lilly Faye

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lilly Faye's Movie Review: The Way, starring Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, and Yorick van Wageningen

Dear Readers,

My friends and I recently watched the film, The Way. Martin Sheen plays a California ophthalmologist named Tom, who receives a phone call telling him his adult son has died in an accident on his first day as a pilgrim walking the El Camino de Santiago.

Tom flies to France to claim the body of his son, from whom he was estranged, and decides on the spot to complete his son's journey, walking the Camino all the way to Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. As he walks, Tom meets other people who are making the same pilgrimage, although for different reasons.

Tom wants to really know his late son, and thus himself. Joost from Amsterdam needs to learn self-acceptance. Sarah from Canada is seeking forgiveness. Jack from Ireland is searching for his authentic writer's voice. Along the way the pilgrims argue, annoy, inspire, support, and begin to understand each other, forming an unexpected bond.

Martin Sheen's real-life son Emilio Estevez directed The Way, and appears throughout in flashbacks as Daniel, Tom's late son. Estevez also wrote the screenplay which was inspired by the nonfiction book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route into Spain by Jack Hitt.

There are many routes, or Ways of St. James, all culminating at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Pilgrims have been traveling these routes since the Middle Ages. Tom begins his walk in France.

Beautifully filmed on location in France and Spain, this film is spiritual and inspiring.

Dizzie: Hey Boss, I just read that there's a Portuguese Way! I think I would make a good pilgrim. I'd love to hike through Portugal carrying my supplies on my back, soaking up the local atmosphere, and finishing with a swim in the ocean! It would be an awesome chance to explore my homeland.

Lilly Faye: You were born in Maryland, Diz.

Dizzie: I'm just sayin', I feel my Portuguese roots calling to me.

Alfie Cat: Don't discourage him. I'd enjoy a few months without Lead Butt sitting on my face every night.

Dizzie: I only arse him to keep him from scratching my nose with his sharp claws. My nose is very sensitive.

Busty Cat: My favorite part of movie night this week was the chicken dinner.

Lilly Faye: That was my chicken you were eating.

Busty Cat: And it was delicious. Especially the crispy skin.

Lilly Faye: I fear we are getting away from the matter at hand.

Dear Readers,

If you like character-driven stories and a gorgeous atmosphere, this movie is for you.

If you're interested in a spiritual pilgrimage but can't travel yourself, you can gain a lot from watching this movie.

There are many paths to self-discovery, be they physical journeys or spiritual quests. 

You could even start a blog and invite your friends to join you.

Movie Rating: Two Paws Up! Highly Recommended!

Lilly Faye

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lilly Faye's Book Review: Poisoned Ground by Sandra Parshall

Dear Readers,

Busty Cat and I have just finished reading Poisoned Ground, Sandra Parshall's brand new Rachel Goddard Mystery. As I promised a few days ago, Busty Cat has returned to review it with me.

Lilly Faye: Welcome back to the blog, Busty. I'm glad you could be here today.

I found Poisoned Ground to be very professionally written. It flows nicely. I like the way Sandra writes in shorter chapters. It's a style that keeps me turning the pages.

Busty Cat: Even though it's the sixth in a series, and it's the first Rachel Goddard Mystery I've read, I didn't have any trouble getting into the story. The author does a good job of revealing just enough backstory, without dumping too much information and slowing down the suspense.

Lilly Faye: I was happily surprised to find out that the main 
character, Rachel Goddard, the veterinarian, doesn't go around town being nosy and trying to solve crimes all by herself. She's married to the sheriff, and he does most of the investigating, which is more realistic.

Busty Cat: I liked that it's not too cozy, and not too scary.

Lilly Faye: I agree, it's just right.

I liked that Sandra included lots of dogs and cats, and even birds and rabbits in the story.

Busty Cat: Don't forget the sheep and horses!

Lilly Faye: The mystery is well plotted, with plenty of red herrings. It kept me guessing 'til the very end.

Busty Cat: I love red herrings. Yum!

Dizzie: Hey, this book sounds good! Can I have it now that you two girls have finished reading it?

Book Rating: Two paws up. Highly recommended!

Busty Cat: Just a minute, Lilly Faye. We aren't done here. There's still the matter of my payment. Here's my invoice:

Lilly Faye: But Busty, I only have one can left!

Busty Cat: Hand it over.

Dear Readers,

Take my advice: if you like mysteries, get yourself a copy of Poisoned Ground, and always read the fine print when dealing with a cat.

Lilly Faye

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Dizzie: Hi, Boss.

Lilly O'Faye: Top o' the mornin' to you, Diz. Tis St. Patrick's Day, so just for today, you can call me Lilly O'Faye!

Dizzie: Will do, Boss. I didn't know you were Irish.

Lilly O'Faye: It's true that Poodles originated in Germany, but everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's Day, Diz.

Dizzie: Not me, Boss. I'm a Portuguese Water Dog, through and through.

Lilly O'Faye: Well, today you can be an Irish Water Spaniel. You look a lot alike.

What's on your mind?

Dizzie: I came over to ask you when you think you might start paying me a salary for my work here on the blog.

Lilly O'Faye: Sorry, Diz. No can do. Unpaid interns like yourself are free slave labor, here to be used and abused. Everybody in publishing knows that.

Dizzie: But Busty said....

Lilly O'Faye: Busty Cat is an independent contractor. I have no control over her.

Dizzie: But, Boss....

Lilly O'Faye: You're gaining valuable job experience here on the blog, Diz. That's worth a lot!

If you do a good job, and continue to bring me my water just the way I like it,*** I may promote you to junior cub reporter at some point in the future.

Dizzie: Gosh, thanks, Boss!

Lilly O'Faye: That's if the blog ever starts bringing in money, of course.

Dear Readers,
I hope you have a very merry St. Patrick's Day!

Love and luck to you,
Lilly O'Faye

***Not too hot, not too cold, in a small glass held at just the right height.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lilly Faye's Movie Review: Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth

Dear Readers,

Dizzie and I just watched Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Woodly Harrelson, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman also have pivotal roles. The story is from the book, Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins.

Dizzie: It's about human spontaneous combustion!

Lilly Faye: No it's not.

Dizzie: Then why do their clothes keep bursting into flames?

Lilly Faye: The fire is symbolic. They are flames of hope. 

Katniss, the heroine, is a threat to the oppressive, controlling regime, because she gives the downtrodden people hope for a better future.

Dizzie: Who keeps giving her arrows? That's what I want to know. She never runs out of arrows!

Lilly Faye: I really enjoyed looking at the elaborate hair and costumes.

Dizzie: I kept worrying about Katniss. I hope she survives.

Lilly Faye: Katniss is the heroine, Diz. Suzanne Collins wrote three books, but Hollywood is making four movies out of them, and Catching Fire is only the second movie. That should tell you something.

Dizzie: Well, it would be a shame if she doesn't live to see the end of the story, that's all I'm sayin'.

Lilly Faye: Dear Readers, let's not spoil it for him.

Dizzie: I fell asleep after the two hour mark, so I might have missed something. It's a loooong movie.

Lilly Faye: I thought I heard snoring! 

It's time to rate the movie, Diz. 

Movie Rating: Two paws up for the themes of hope and courage in the face of tyranny, exciting action sequences, and excellent visuals.

Lilly Faye

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Visit from Busty Cat, and a New Mystery: Poisoned Ground by Sandra Parshall

Dear Readers,

I've asked my good friend, Busty Cat, to join me today. 

Welcome to the blog, Busty!

Busty: Hello, Lilly Faye. This is the first time you've invited me to the blog this year. What's up?

Lilly Faye: It has come to my attention that several of my readers are cat lovers, and I've been promising to have you on my blog for ages, so it seemed like a natural fit.

Busty: Well, okay. But don't expect me to call you "Boss," and work as an unpaid intern, like Dizzie. I'm a cat, which means I'm an independent contractor. 

Lilly Faye: Agreed. Tell my readers a little bit about yourself.

Busty: I emigrated from England, I live with Dizzie and Alfie, my favorite meal is sardines and goat's milk, and I like whipped cream for dessert. Despite my rich diet, I am quite petite.

Lilly Faye: When you visited the blog in December, you told us about some of your favorite books, so I know you're a reader.

I just purchased Poisoned Ground, a brand new mystery by Sandra Parshall. I thought we could read and review it together. It's about a lady veterinarian who solves crimes in rural Virginia.

Busty: I go to a lady doctor, so I can relate. Are there any cats in it?

Lilly Faye: I've only just started reading, but already several dogs and barn cats have been mentioned. 

The story starts off really well. A big city developer wants to buy up private land in rural Virginia, and some of the residents don't want to sell. One of them is brandishing a gun!

I can't wait to read more. Will you join me, Busty?

Busty: Sure. I love a good mystery. Scoot over, and let's get started.

Dear Readers,
Poisoned Ground, the newest Rachel Goddard Mystery by Sandra Parshall, is published by Poisoned Pen Press.

Busty will be back in a few days to discuss the book with me. Feel free to leave a comment about Poisoned Ground, or anything else that's on your mind, by clicking on the word "comment" in the shaded box below this post.

You can also email me privately any time by using the "Contact Form" on the right side of your screen. 

Lilly Faye

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lilly Faye's Movie Review: Rush, a film by Ron Howard, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl

Dear Readers,

My friends and family know how much I love to ride in a fast car, particularly in a convertible! There's nothing like the feeling of the sun shining down on me and the wind blowing my ears straight back, while the world passes by in a blur.

So, I was looking forward to seeing Rush, and I was not disappointed. The movie captures the heart-thumping excitement and thrill of Formula One racing. All that was missing was the smell of fuel, motor oil, and burning rubber.

How would you describe the movie, Diz?

Dizzie: Lots of racing and shagging and hurling and fighting. It was good, I liked it!

Lilly Faye: Rush tells the real-life story of the epic rivalry between Austrian driver and master tactician Niki Lauda, and seat-of-his-pants driver and playboy, Englishman James Hunt.

The two men met when they were just young pups racing in Formula 3, and the movie covers the years that followed, leading to their historic battle for the 1976 Formula One Grand Prix World Championship.

Chris Hemsworth, whom you may know from his role as Thor in The Avengers, gives his all in the role of James Hunt. He largely succeeds, although he isn't quite as boyishly handsome or as charismatic as the real James. I can't think of any actor who is.

Daniel Bruhl becomes Niki Lauda, which is pretty amazing. The real Niki was known for his less than handsome looks, even before he was badly scarred while racing. 

Daniel Bruhl, on the other paw, is pretty cute. Check him out as the young violinist washed up on the beach in the film Ladies in Lavender, if you don't believe me. In fact, do yourself a favor and check it out anyway. It's an excellent movie starring Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.

Rush was made for an adult audience. It's rated R for a reason.

Dizzie: Lots of bare bums!

Lilly Faye: There is a bit of nudity, but there are also some very realistic medical scenes that may be hard for some people to stomach. I didn't have any trouble with them, but you might.

Diz, I think we know how we're going to rate this one.

Dizzie: Right, Boss!

Movie Rating: Two Paws Up! Highly recommended!

Lilly Faye