The Longest Week

I’ve just finished one of my longest work weeks ever. Due to staff shortage, I’ve just worked 72 hours in the past week. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Which is very unhelpful considering that I have a lot that need to get done.

Ignoring all the writing/revising I should be doing, I need to tidy up and clean our flat, print out our boarding passes and vouchers, write a note to the house/pet sitter and pack our bags. Oh yes, I didn’t tell you – I’m going to Spain on Monday!

The work week from hell is a lot easier to get through when you know that you’re off on a holiday once it’s over.

My sister and her family are coming to visit for the last week of June as well, which I’m really looking forward to. The one problem I’m having is finding the time to clean, since when we get back from Spain I go straight into three nights of work, and then they arrive. I might have to only sleep a couple of hours after the last night and do lots of panic cleaning (is there any other kind?) in the hours before they show up.

Now I need to get back to cleaning… I say that, but in reality I’m off to watch the new Wonder Woman movie.

A Red Rose (part 1)

Sequel to A White Rose.


A dark shadow bent over the sleeping form of a young girl in bed, stroking away an errant lock of hair from her delicate brow. The girl was beautiful, looking restful in her sleep, unaware of the visitor in her simple room. Her skin was fair, with only a slight hint of a tan, a mass of tangled walnut brown hair spread out around her head on the bed. High cheekbones, a small, straight nose and arched eyebrows gave her an almost divine look, all perfect in its innocence. Slightly slanted eyes and pointed ears bore sign of her elfin heritage. A soft smile curled her lips as she dreamed of something undoubtedly pleasant.

The dark shadow carefully pulled the blanket down, revealing a pair of slender shoulders, and then put a hand inside its large cloak. The girl in the bed sighed in her sleep, causing the dark shadow to still for a moment, waiting to see if she would wake, but the girl remained asleep. Slowly the shadow withdrew a thin dagger from its robe and moved it toward the girl’s slender throat. The tip of the dagger came to rest against her neck, moving along her throat, almost caressing, without piercing the delicate skin.

Dark eyelashes fluttered over the girl’s cheek, and slowly she started to wake. Light green eyes, so pale they seemed yellow, widened as she spotted the intruder. Her mouth opened to scream, but was cut short as the lethal tip of the dagger struck down to draw blood.

With a start Ereptus jerked awake. The small room he’d taken at a local inn seemed to close in on him for a moment, until he was entirely awake. Shaking, he sat up and looked around. The room looked just as it had when he had gone to sleep; simple with a sturdy bed and a little cupboard with a washbowl on top. It was only a dream, yet it had seemed so real.

He ran a hand through his dark hair, vaguely registering that he’d been sweating, and stood to pace the small space of the room. There wasn’t an ounce of magic in his entire being. He was a simple soul living a rogue’s life. Yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that he had just had a premonition. He had been away too long. It was time for him to go back and face his inner demons. If for no other reason than to see her and make sure that she was still alive and well.

Although the sun had not yet shown its golden face Ereptus got dressed, packed his few belongings and left the inn. He stole a horse on a small farm outside the city and started his journey towards the city of Messina where he had once left the girl. He could only hope that she was still there. After all, it had been three years since he had last seen her.

*****

The street in the city of Messina was bustling with citizens walking to and from little shops running their errands. A few Peacekeepers were standing at a street corner looking over the street making sure there was no trouble arising. The many guards of the city made it one of the safest in all the kingdoms, allowing a lonely girl to grow up without fearing for her life.
Ereptus was standing in the shadows of a narrow alley, keeping away from the busy street, not wanting to be seen. From where he was standing he had a good view of the small bar on the opposite side, where he knew the girl now lived.

It had been four years since he had first met her. He had been called back to the city of his past by an old friend to repay a favour. The favour had turned out to involve bringing a dirty brat to Messina, taking the girl away from the violent streets of the city. She was an elfin girl with some magical powers, and the old city was not a good place for her to grow up, being almost ruled by crime. As young as she was, she had already shown potential and sooner or later she would be killed if she stayed there, or worse.

At first he had been angry, not wanting the responsibility of an elfin girl, but during their trip to Messina, he had involuntarily started to like her, more than he wanted to admit to himself even to this day. The girl had been suspicious of him at first, as she seemed to be towards most people, but had soon grown fond of him, and he had a nagging feeling that she had had a small crush on him, in the way teenage girls did. She had started to see him as some kind of idol, wanting to share his life, stealing what was needed and living from day to day.

That was the reason he had left her. Or at least he told himself so. Once they had arrived in Messina, the capital of Erya, he had gotten them a room at an inn, and the next morning, while the girl was still asleep, he had left. Leaving her with only a small pouch of money and a rose.

Ereptus moved out of the way as a couple came walking through the alley, disturbing his thoughts. Casting a quick look at the entrance to the bar across the road to ensure himself that she had still not come out, he settled back into the shadows.

He had stayed in Messina for a year after leaving her, staying in the shadows, watching over her. She had never known; as far as she was aware, he had left her that morning to never return. Once he had been convinced that she was doing all right, by that time she had gotten a job as a bar maid during the late afternoons and evenings, he had left the city. Being that close to her without speaking to her had been difficult, and putting distance between them would take the temptation away.

It had now been three years since he’d left the city behind. She would be older now.

Ereptus frowned. Where had that come from? Before he could delve deeper into his own thoughts the door to the bar on the opposite side of the road opened and she emerged. Seeing her again was like a punch in the gut. She had been promisingly beautiful as the young girl he had met, a girl that was too old to be a child, and too young to be a woman. The young, elfin woman coming out from the bar was astonishing.

With a scowl he saw that he wasn’t the only one who noticed. Several of the men on the street slowed their pace to get a good glance at her. She seemed unaware of their attentions as she walked down the street. Slowly Ereptus emerged out of the alley, keeping his distance from her as to not be seen, while following her.

His eyes took her in as they were walking through the streets of the city. It was obvious that she was now a grown-up. Although her body was slender she had the distinct forms of a young woman. She was wearing a simple skirt of soft leather, and a leather bodice that stuck to her like a second skin. Her long, walnut brown hair was tied back in the neck cascading down her back all the way to her waist.

Ereptus quickly slipped into a dark alley as the young woman stopped in the middle of the street and turned around, a small frown creasing her brow. She scanned the street, but didn’t see him, although he was standing quite close. From where he was standing he could clearly see her face with her unusual eyes. Framed with thick, dark lashes they stood out in their light green colour, a shade so light that they seemed yellow most of the time.

As the girl turned back and continued down the street Ereptus slipped out of the alley again following her yet again.

*****

Rain wiped off the last of the wooden tables with a damp cloth and then straightened her aching back and looked around in the little bar where she worked in the afternoons and evenings. It was a small, but cosy, little bar in the centre of the city where the citizens gathered in the evenings for a chat and a couple of beers. Messina was a peaceful town, and she had not had much trouble since she first arrived four years ago.

The job was hard on her back and sometimes a customer who had had a little too much to drink might try and grab her, but on the whole, it was a good job. It paid enough to let her rent a little room above the bar and pay for her lessons in magic. It was definitely better than living on the streets as she had done as a child.

The bar was empty at the moment, Rain being the only one left after closing time to wipe off the tables and blow out the candles. She finished her tasks swiftly, hung her little apron on a rusty spike behind the counter and started up the stairs to where her little room was located.

Once there, she lit a small candle by her bed and started getting ready for bed. As she was about to take off her leather bodice she felt a prickling feeling in the back of her neck. She turned slowly to the small window overlooking the street, but as far as she could see it was empty. All day she had had the feeling that she was being watched, ever since she had gone for her magic lesson in the morning. Frowning slightly, she turned away from the window, but she couldn’t shake off the feeling of unease that had settled in the back of her mind.

Knowing that she would be unable to sleep if she didn’t check, she went downstairs and unlocked the door to the bar. She peeked outside, but couldn’t see anyone, so she opened the door wide and stepped outside on the empty street. The crisp night air caressed her skin as a light breeze swept through the city. She stood for a moment enjoying the silence of the city at night time, then smiled at her own foolishness, there were no people anywhere close, and turned to walk back inside.

As she reached for the doorknob someone caught hold of her from behind, a heavy hand clamped over her mouth preventing her from screaming. She tried to get loose, but whoever was holding her was big and strong, and she wasn’t even able to budge the hold he had on her. He turned her around, and she saw another man, a wide grin on his face displaying uneven, yellowish teeth. He was thin and unwashed with tangled hair and patched clothes.

“Well, hello there”, he said in an unpleasant voice. “We’ve been waiting for you. Very kind of you to walk straight into our arms like this.”

Rain made another attempt at getting away from the man who was holding her in an iron grip, but it only made him strengthen his hold, making it difficult for her to breathe, which in turn made it difficult to focus on any of the spells she knew. The other man chuckled at her futile attempt. “My friend is too strong for you, girl. You better just give up.”

“Do we have te bring ‘er te the boss right away?” the man who held her said gruffly next to her ear. “I think we deserve te have some fun with ‘er first.”

The other man stepped closer, touching Rain’s cheek with a dirty hand, grinning widely. “You’re right”, he said. “She’s quite something this one.”

As he was starting to touch Rain’s hair he caught sight of something and his eyes widened, but before he got the chance to say anything Rain felt something hard hit her captor in the back, causing him to drop her. While she was scrambling to her feet she heard some muffled noises and then a couple of thumps.

Brushing some dirt off her skirt she looked at the two men who had attacked her. They were now both lying unconscious on the ground. She stroked back an errant lock of hair, fastening it behind her ear and looked down the street. Where had her rescuer gone off to? Frowning, she kneeled by the two bodies, searching them for personal possessions that might tell her who they were. As one of them moaned loudly she almost tripped over her own feet in the haste of getting away from the man before he woke up.

“You little fool”, a soft voice said behind her, helping her up. “Are you deliberately trying to get caught again? I didn’t bring them down for you to wake them up again the first thing you do.”

Rain pulled her arm back as soon as she was standing and turned around to glare at her rescuer.

“Look!” she snapped. “I was just going to..” she trailed off, staring at the man standing in front of her.

He looked just like in her memories, if not better. He was dressed in black, as she remembered he always used to be, tall and slim with dark hair falling to his shoulders, curling slightly at the collar. He had a square jaw which was currently covered with a day’s stubble and dark, almost black, eyes that were watching her intently.

“Ereptus!” she gasped, overcome with the shock of seeing him again after such a long time. “What are you doing here?”

Ereptus shrugged, an amused smile playing on his lips. “Saving your hide, obviously.”

Rain grumbled. “I was doing fine on my own.”

“I saw that.” Ereptus replied dryly.

“I don’t need your comments.” Rain snapped at him, annoyed that he had come back only to save her again.

“Let’s continue the conversation inside,” Ereptus suggested as one of the men on the ground started making noises and seemed to be coming around. Without waiting for an answer, he ushered Rain inside the bar, closed and locked the door.

“What are you doing? You’re not coming in here!” Rain glared at him, hands on her hips.

“Would you rather I went out there and met those two brutes again?” Ereptus asked.

She was sorely tempted to say yes, but held her tongue. “Fine. Stay then,” she sighed.

Ereptus moved around in the bar and found a candle which he lit with the help of some embers in the fireplace. Then he put it on a table and sat down, watching her silently until she relented and joined him at the table.

They sat quietly for a moment, watching each other and the changes that had happened since they had last seen. Rain was well aware that she had changed the most, going from a teenager to a young woman. Not that Ereptus seemed to notice, she thought glumly. He hadn’t changed much himself the past few years. He was still a handsome rogue.

Ereptus was the first to start speaking. “You seem to be doing all right here”, he said.

Rain nodded. “I am. I’ve been able to take care of myself quite well without you.”

An amused smile touched Ereptus’ lips, but he didn’t say anything.

“I’m learning my magic, and making my own money.” Rain continued, annoyed that he wasn’t giving her any indication of his thoughts.

“No stealing.” Ereptus stated.

“No stealing,” Rain repeated, and added tonelessly. “You got your wish.”

Ereptus said nothing, just looked at her with his dark eyes, unnerving her.

She nervously stroked away a lock of hair from her brow. “So… Where have you been all this time?”

“Travelling around,” Ereptus answered vaguely.

Rain looked up, meeting his eyes. “What made you come back?”

“I was in the area.” He looked away, seemingly very interested in the interior of the bar.

“I’m surprised you dare to come this close to me,” Rain said, a note of bitterness creeping into her voice.

Ereptus jerked his head back to look at her. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“You seemed to be in quite a rush to get away from me last time,” Rain said, trying not to sound as hurt as she was. “You didn’t even bother to say good bye.”

To her satisfaction, Ereptus looked guilty. “It was easier not to.”

She stared at him. “Easier?” she asked, her voice raising an octave. “Well, I’m glad it was easier for you to break my heart while I was sleeping!”

“Did I then?” Ereptus asked quietly, his eyes searching hers.

“Did what?” Rain muttered angrily.

“Break your heart?”

She looked down at her hands, her answer coming softly, hardly more than a whisper. “Yes. You were my only friend.”

He leaned forward over the table and caressed her cheek with his knuckles. “I never wanted to hurt you, Rain,” he said silently, locking his eyes with hers. “I left because I thought it was the best thing for you.”

A silent tear trailed down Rain’s cheek as she looked at him, and Ereptus caught it on his finger, watching it for a moment, a wistful expression on his face.

“How could it be the best for me?” she asked. “I was young and alone in a new city. You abandoned me.”

Ereptus wiped the tear off his finger, breaking eye contact. “I was afraid that I would be a bad influence on you,” he admitted.

“How noble of you.” Rain said bitterly. “The least you could have done was to leave while I was awake.”

“I had my reasons,” Ereptus mumbled, so quietly that she almost didn’t hear it.

“Well.” She stood. “I don’t think I’m interested in hearing them anymore. You left me, and that’s fine with me. I can take care of myself now. And I’m going to bed. Good bye, Ereptus.”

Ereptus stood as well. “I’m not leaving.”

She looked at him, hands on her hips. “You’re not staying here with me!”

“I’m not going anywhere until we’ve figured out what’s going on and what those men wanted with you,” Ereptus replied calmly.

“The same they always do, most likely,” Rain said, exasperated.

“I don’t think so. They were talking about bringing you to someone. I think those two were more than just your regular street thugs,” Ereptus said, and then his eyes narrowed. “What do you mean the same they always do?”

Rain sighed. “Good night, Ereptus.”

She hurried up the stairs to her room, locking the door behind her, before Ereptus could reply. He could sleep downstairs on the floor, she thought stubbornly. She quickly got ready for bed and lay down to get some sleep. It was difficult, her mind still occupied with the fact that Ereptus was back. She wasn’t sure whether she was angry or happy about the fact. She would never forget the morning she had woken up to find that her only friend had abandoned her. A lot of hopes and dreams had been crushed the instant she had realised he would not be coming back.

Instagram Roundup (May)

It’s the first of June, and in all honesty I don’t know where this year has gone. Wasn’t it Christmas just a few weeks ago?! Below are my Instagram photos from the month of May.

Everything was green, it was feeling like Spring! Or possibly summer already…

The wobbly birthday cake I made for the boyfriend. Not my best effort.

The kitten has discovered a new spot to relax.

Went out to dinner with the boyfriend and his parents. We’re not cuddling, I’m keeping him from running away from the camera – can’t you see the pain on his face?

I tried to take a photo of our yummy dessert, but the boyfriend was having none of it.

Kitten has a favourite spot to sleep – makes it very hard to do anything on the computer!

Kitten cuddles!

Bailey is watching the kitten’s very peculiar way of eating.

Monthly Update (May)

It’s that time of the month again, so let’s have a look at what I’ve accomplished (or not) in May.

Writing

I will be honest, May has been a terrible month for me in regards to writing. Which is a shame, because I had such great plans. I’ve not revised more than a chapter or two, instead I’ve been plotting and planning for a couple of other books. There’s also some prep work that I’ve been doing in preparation for a more long term thing, but there’s nothing to show for it yet – so it doesn’t necessarily count. It took a lot longer than I had thought, and so May has been a bad month for writing.

Blog

The blog has had a face-lift, in that I have a new design with a new colour scheme and new icons etc. Tags is something that a lot of people use, but I haven’t – so I’ve also added a Tag cloud and I’m slowly (very slowly) going to go through all of the old posts and add tags to them. At least anything new will have tags on them.

Personal

We got a kitten! I’ve been missing having a cat since I left my precious girl back in Sweden when I moved. As much as I would have loved to bring her with me, it just wouldn’t have been fair to do that to her. She’s an outdoor cat used to the countryside, and I now live in a city with busy roads.

We adopted a little British Shorthair silver blue tabby a couple of weeks ago, and his name is Macallan. He’s very cuddly and has a lovely temperament. We’re very happy with him, and Bailey (the dog) loves him too!

Little Mac.

In fairness, the dog may love him a little too much at times. Macallan is no longer wary of the dog, as he was the first few days, but Bailey can still be a little too overzealous with his wanting to love him. This gif pretty much sums up their relationship…

This. So much this.

Oh, and something I did get done during May was step one in Project Flat Overhaul. When I moved to England we bought a flat, and while it was in a good enough condition to just move in and start living, I’m now at the point where I want to start making it ours. For now, all I can do due to money and time restraints is paint all the rooms (and even that will take a bit of time). So this month, I painted our second bedroom.

Like the dummy I am, of course I forgot to take a proper “before” photo, so here’s an old, crappy one when we still had moving boxes everywhere. The walls were a beige-ish colour.

Taking a photo of a wall for colour is not something I’m good at (as apparent above). The new colour is called Mint Macaroon and turned out really well, albeit not as we first thought. The paint sample was quite green, but the end result is actually a lot more blue than it might appear. Still, we really love the colour, so it’s still a win! And the room feels so much brighter!

This is Mint Macaroon. I swear the sample was green!

Monday Movie – The Song of the Summer

Once upon a time I posted a new YouTube video that I had found every Monday, and for some indiscernible reason I thought that’s something I could start doing again. So here goes!

This is Logan Paul’s Song of the Summer. It’s very weird and silly, but kind of fun. It reminds me a bit of Lonely Island in the style.

I’m sorry!

If anyone is following this blog through getting e-mails, I’m very sorry for the spam that just happened!

I’m trying to streamline my million blogs and only keeping the relevant ones. Considering that this blog has been around the longest and has all of my backstory, I’m going to keep it as my online journal/personal blog. And so I moved any sort of relevant posts onto here. So that may have spammed some people.

Sorry about that!

WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from the Regency Romance I’m currently writing, tentatively titled As He Likes It. The scene takes place at a ball between our hero Nathaniel, the Marquess of Pensington and our heroine Angelique (Angel) Grafton.

It’s unedited as I’m in the middle of revisions.


Finally, he gave up and walked across the room to where Angel seemed to be trying to hide behind a potted tree while sipping some punch. Apparently Chettisham had seen fit to give her something to drink, but didn’t bother to stick around. She looked up as he came to stand beside her.

“Are you enjoying your evening so far, Miss Grafton?” he asked politely.

“Very much, thank you,” she answered just as polite.

“Is that why you’re hiding behind a tree?”

Angel choked on the punch she’d just been about to swallow and started to cough. “I beg your pardon?” she sputtered.

Her eyes were watery from the coughing, making them appear greener than before. Framed with thick, dark eyelashes they were one of her most attractive features. Her pink lips were slightly parted, as if she could not quite believe what he’d just said. Nathaniel was shocked by the sudden urge he had to kiss those lips.

“Lord Pensington?” Angel queried softly.

“It seemed to me as if you were hiding,” Nathaniel said, pulling himself together. “Lurking behind plants usually isn’t an activity of those who enjoy a ball.”

A faint blush crept up Angel’s cheeks, making her look even more adorable. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she mumbled, facing the ball room and refusing to look at him.

“It was not my meaning to embarrass you. Please accept my most sincere apologies.”

Angel gave him a quick look. “Are you making sport of me, Lord Pensington?”

“I would never dream of it,” Nathaniel said with a look of mock horror, causing Angel to laugh and finally relax.

“I fear I really am hiding,” she admitted with a sigh. “I’m terribly shy and all these people make me nervous.”

“Where is your Chettisham?” Nathaniel asked, looking out over the crowd trying to locate him.

“He’s not my Chettisham,” Angel muttered, only to add, “At least not yet.”

“Well, he should be by your side if he hopes to win your hand in marriage.”

That caused Angel to laugh again, though it had a hollow quality to it. “There is no winning involved. It is simply how it is meant to be. I’m to be his wife, and that’s the end of it.”

Nathaniel knew he shouldn’t ask, it was none of his business, but he couldn’t help himself. “Do you wish to be his wife?”

She fell silent, looking out over the people on the dance floor until she found Chettisham, dancing with a beautiful, buxom lady.

“That is an awfully personal question, Lord Pensington,” she said quietly. “Do you really think that we are acquainted enough to speak of such private matters?”

“I did sleep in your bed,” Nathaniel said with a straight face.

Angel gasped and turned abruptly towards him, her cheeks turning beet red. “That is an awful thing to say to a young lady, my lord!”

“It was merely an observation.” Nathaniel tried to look innocent, but failed miserably.

“You, my lord, are a rogue,” Angel said, but she was smiling now.

“I believe that considering that you have seen me in a state of undress that few can claim to, you can call me Nathaniel.”

She blushed prettily. “Then you may call me Angel. But I thought you told me we should never mention that incident again.”

“So I did,” Nathaniel agreed. “But that was before I realized I could not stop thinking about it.”

They fell silent, Nathaniel felt as surprised by his admission as Angel looked. His dark eyes locked on to Angel’s light green ones, and neither of them were able to break the contact. Unable to stop himself Nathaniel leaned a little closer.

 

Character Names

One of the more enjoyable parts in writing is finding the perfect character names. Or if not perfect, at least names that you feel fit and you like. There are lots of ways to do this. Sometimes a name might just come to you, or you’ve read it in another book, seen it on TV, maybe you even know someone with that name.

Other times, you’re struggling and you can’t come up with a name no matter how hard you try. These are the times when you might need some help, and I will share some of the places where I go to look with you.

Contemporary Names

These are probably the easiest, because pretty much any name goes. You’ve seen some of the names celebrities name their babies, right? I usually go to any baby name website to look for names that I like for a contemporary story.

Babynames.com

NameBerry

Babynames.co.uk

BabyCentre

Historical Names

When it comes to writing historical fiction, it helps if the names are at least plausibly from that era. If your Regency hero is called Maddox for example, people might call you out on it. For my historical fiction I tend to look at the above databases for names, and then double check their etymology to see if there was any chance they existed back in the early 19th century.

For me, in reality, Regency names were quite limited in which names were actually popular at the time – so to avoid writing books where a lot of people have the same name – I’m allowing myself some leniency on the names. As long as it’s not too far from the realm of possibility.

You can also find some places online where you can look at registers of people who actually lived at the time. Or steal a name from an author that you know lived back then. We all know Jane, Emily and Charlotte were names used in that time period!

For my four book series, I named the four siblings after characters in Shakespeare’s plays (their mother loved all things Shakespeare). So something like that is also possible. Choosing names that appeared in works published in, or before, the time period that you’re writing about.

Name Etymology

Fantasy Names

For fantasy names you can go either way, all depending on what kind of book you’re writing. You can make names up from scratch, you can use a name generator, you can use common names with slight variations.

In the few fantasy stories I’ve written I tend to do a mixture. Some names are made up, some are old gaelic or roman names, sometimes with a slight variation. Some are more common names with some variation. The advantage in fantasy is that it’s your fantasy, and the world you build will adhere to your imagination and your rules. If you want common names like John to be what people are called in your story, then that’s what you do.

An example of someone who used common names with a slight deviation, combined with some made up names: George RR Martin.
Jon Snow (John)
Eddard Stark (Edward)
Joffrey Barathian (Geoffrey)
All obviously based on real names. But then you have names like Sansa, which didn’t seem to exist before Game of Thrones.

Fantasy Name Generator

Surnames

I use a surname website for the last name of my characters, combined with just making things up. Sometimes I will look at maps of the UK when I need surnames and/or titles to get ideas. There are a lot of great names in street names and areas!

Surname Database

How do you name your characters, and do you have any tips on where to find names?

Movie Review: Beauty & the Beast

I had meant to post this ages ago, when I actually saw the movie, but I never got around to it, because I’m a terrible person. Or a forgetful person. One of those things.

It’s a tale as old as time… and you know what, let’s not do this. I think we all know how the story goes. If you’re anything like me, you saw the original Disney movie about a trillion times anyway and probably know it by heart.

There’s definitely a level of nostalgia that goes into watching this movie, and Disney counts on it, giving us a nearly frame by frame remake. There are changes though, and some (most?) are for the better. Some new songs have been added, and Belle is a little less victim and a little more feisty. She’s the inventor rather than her father, which is one of the reasons the villagers find her odd. That and the fact that she can read, which is apparently a terrible, terrible thing. Even worse when she tries to teach one of the children (a girl! oh noes! how dare she?!) to read.

Some of the things that might have made us go ‘huh?’ in the original movie have been addressed, some of which makes sense now and some of which still kind of don’t. As well as a few new bits that may or may not make sense.

I could go into detail about all these things, but I won’t bore you. (An example is how the villagers could have forgotten that there’s a huge castle with a prince right next door, and some timing in regards to the Beast’s age. If you pay attention in the original and do the maths he was basically 11 when the curse happened. How bad can an 11 year old be for you to curse him like that? I’m kidding, 11 year olds can be terrible, but I mean – ground them or something, don’t turn them into a beast!)

Let’s talk about the things that I really care about when it comes to this movie; the characters and romance!

The Beast/Prince

They did an amazing job creating the Beast in CGI! Dan Stevens truly shine and is allowed enough of his features through the CGI to properly convey all of the feelings he needs to. Not only that, but he can sing. I will be honest, I had no idea that Dan Stevens could sing.

In fact, they did such a good job on the Beast (those pecs… I mean, the scene where his shirt is open created some very confusing feelings for me) that I was disappointed when he turned into the Prince. Which was very badly done, because Dan Stevens is a handsome man. What’s up with the temple curls?! And did he have to be given the ugliest suit of everyone in the whole movie?

Belle

I liked Hermione Granger Emma Watson as Belle, though I’m not sure that someone else couldn’t have done a better job. I feel terrible for saying it, but while she was good, and I’m sure she put a lot of effort into learning to sing, she’s not actually a singer – and it’s noticeable. In fairness, I didn’t notice it as much when I was watching the movie – but I listened to the soundtrack afterwards, and when you don’t have the movie to dazzle you, you notice that her voice doesn’t quite measure up to some of the others.

Also, I know she’s like 27 years old now or something, but I struggle to see her as older than she was in early Harry Potter movies. This is my problem though and may not be someone else. It did however make me think that her first reaction to the Beast turning into Dan Stevens the Prince would be “oh wow… eh… you’re older than I thought”.

Gaston

After the Beast, Gaston was definitely my second favourite character in this version of the movie. Luke Evans does such an amazing job and is so charismatic that it’s difficult to hate Gaston as much as you did in the original. I wonder if they made him extra villainous to make up for the fact that Luke Evans is so amazing that people might end up rooting for him instead of the Beast if he doesn’t show how properly evil he really is?

If for no other reason, watch the movie for Luke Evans.

LeFou

Josh Gad does a great job of making LeFou more than just the funny sidekick that he was in the original. He gets his own character arc and Gad portrays this perfectly, while still being funny and endearing.

Everyone else

I don’t have many thoughts about the others. They were all fine. I’m not sure about Ewan McGregor with a French accent… Also, Emma Thompson’s accent as Mrs. Potts threw me a bit. I love Kevin Cline in pretty much everything he does. Didn’t realise Stanley Tucci was in the movie until the very end!

The Romance

As in the original, the timeline is somewhat compressed (and that’s with the live action movie being longer than the original already), so the romance is still happening quite quickly. I always wish we’d have a little bit more time with Beauty and the Beast to see their relationship develop. It definitely feels a little bit rushed, but it is given a little bit more time than in the original, which at least helps.

It might be because I’m a romance writer and reader, but I could probably have spent another half hour getting into their budding relationship. But that’s what all the books inspired by the Beauty & the Beast story are for I guess.

All in all, I really loved the movie and would recommend anyone who liked the original to see it. There are a few things that doesn’t necessarily make sense (but you’d find that in nearly any movie if you look hard enough), but I’ll forgive it because I’ve always had a soft spot for Beauty & the Beast.

Ps. This Beauty & the Beast clip from James Corden is absolutely amazing. And it has Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Josh Gad in it!

Instagram Roundup (April)

I’m not particularly prolific when it comes to taking photos and putting them on Instagram, but on the first of every month I’ll share whatever I have been putting up (if anything). This month is extra few since I used a lot of my Easter photos in the previous post. Oops!

On the first of every month, we will have this type of post. Rejoice! Or hide…

When you buy your dog a new bed, and he decides to use it as a pillow instead.

Technically not from April, but I was short on photos – and since it’s a new “feature” I’ve not posted it before. It’s the cathedral in Exeter, and the only photo I took while I was there for training in my new job.