April 20, 2012

R is for...Recommendations

If you've been following along you know that today is 'R' in the A to Z Challenge. It's also Friday, so I've chosen:


Instead of just going with five book recommendations, I'm going to mix it up and pull from different things I like:

• Books
• Music
• Travel
• Movies
• TV

And all of them start with 'R'! So here are my Five 'R' Recommendations:
1)  BookRUBY RED (Rubinrot) by Kerstin Gier & Anthea Bell
From Goodreads: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

I read this book almost a year ago now, and I've been waiting impatiently for the next in the series Sapphire Blue (Saphirblau). As you can probably tell from the titles in brackets, these are German books that have been translated to English—hence the wait. Ruby Red was a fun, light time travel read with romance, ghosts, mystery, and a secret society. And that cover is just beautiful, right?

2)  MusicRIVER DRIVER by Great Big Sea
Let me preface this by saying that this music isn't for everyone. It hails from Canada's East Coast (the Maritimes) which is rich in Scots-Irish heritage. As such, the music from the Maritimes has a strong Celtic flavour. Since the Maritimes are named for the word 'maritime' (meaning 'of the sea'), you can probably guess that fishing is a large part of their economy. Maritimes music often reflects this...and a love of the drink O_o (like I said, Scots-Irish heritage). Anyway, I ♥ Maritimes music.
Great Big Sea - The River Driver

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a Bavarian medieval town which I've had the privilege to visit three times now. The entire town is surrounded by a wall, and all of the buildings look like the ones in the picture—all shlumpy and just really cool. Rothenburg was established in 1170 and still maintains many centuries old buildings and sites. Rothenburg Fun Fact: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 had scenes that were filmed here (which I only just discovered today)! My favourite place of all to visit while in Rothenburg is Käthe Wohlfahrt's Christmas Shop (Weihnachtswerkstatt). It's easily one of the coolest places ever (especially if you love Christmas).

4)  MovieRETURN TO ME (2000)
With the arrival of Judd Apatow and his gang on the romantic comedy scene, it feels like these types of movies have taken a serious turn for the low-brow and raunchy of late. Back in the day there were gems like Return to Me which were cute, funny, romantic, and even a little bit sad at times. This one has all of those things, with a cast that includes: David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Bonnie Hunt, James Belushi, and Joely Richardson, among others. It has great music too, mostly oldies like the Dean Martin track the movie is named for. Just a fun, sweet romance all around.♥

I'm not sure if this show will be renewed for a second season, so I'm hesitant to suggest it. I don't see why it wouldn't be, but then ABC is one of the top offenders for yoinking shows I've gotten hooked on.

Revenge "centers on a young woman who is welcomed into a community filled with people who don't know she's only there to exact revenge on those who had destroyed her family." (IMDB)

It's said to be very loosely based on Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. The show's protag, Emily, is the perfect example of a sympathetic villain, heavy on the sympathetic. Right off the bat we want her to bring down the Graysons and their entitled cronies.
Well, most of them anyway. There's also some swoon factor with some of the show's leading men. Just an interesting show to watch.

So this is long and rambly (as per usual), but those are my Five 'R' Recommendations for you.


  1. I have a sudden urge to go to Germany. Thanks for sharing!

  2. So you haven't ordered the German edition of SAPPHIRE BLUE so you can try to read it in German? ;) I jest, of course (unless your German is that good, in which case, why not??!). I have struggles with novels that are translations. I'm not fluent enough in another language to be able to read and appreciate non-English fiction... but I wonder how much of the original writer's style is lost in the translation? I know this can happen just from translating passages in the Bible from Greek and Hebrew, so I can only imagine this to be the case with fiction. When I'm reading Joe Blow's translation of Dostoyevsky, am I getting Dostoyevsky's words in Joe Blow's style? Are there things I'm missing from the original Russian?

    My wife and I went to see Return to Me when it came out and we both really enjoyed it. Up to then, David Duchovney was the X-Files guy. Here, he showed he could do the rom-com lead, and he did a really good job (IMO).

    Okay, I'd better stop commenting cos I'm now getting long and rambly. :)

    1. I don't think my limited German is anywhere up to the standard that it would need to be to read a book in the language (sadly). I don't know what the original reads like, but this was pretty well done I thought :)

      I think more rom-coms need to go back to the less raunchy format. It's gotten so that I can pretty much expect marijuana use and conversations or scenes with gratuitous sex in them. Boo. And we shouldn't have to be stuck with Nicholas Sparks movies otherwise. :)

    2. I know what you mean, and it *is* sad.

  3. Replies
    1. I'd really like to know if it's going to get renewed for a second season. It's driving me nuts not knowing. It's difficult investing in a show and then having it cancelled on you.

  4. I live in Germany and I didn´t read this book and I haven´t gone to this city yet :D Thanks for the recommendations!
    (oh and the next time you go to Germany, let me know, I´ll give you plenty of tips and even a place to stay! :D)

    1. The books have been out for a long time in Germany. I think maybe even the third in the series as well. It just takes a long time I guess to translate them well. As for Rothenburg ob der Tauber, it's a pretty touristy place. I'm not sure how many of the locals really visit there. Still worth seeing, though :) Speaking of Germany, what part of the country do you live in? I lived in Detmold which is in the North Western portion of Germany.

      Thanks for the offer :)

    2. I am going to have to check those books out soon :D It´s been awhile I read in German...I just googled them, the entire trilogy is available in German and they´re making a movie out of it :D

      I live in Mainz (close to Frankfurt am Main) - South West of Germany. Very nice city (on the Rhine) :D

    3. You're kidding...! I was born just outside Detmold, in a British Military Hospital!! Wow!

    4. That's crazy, Colin! When I lived there I knew that we were living in the quadrant that had British Military presence. I actually bought one of my Harry Potter books at a British store that had all kind of English stuff in it (everywhere else was only German versions of the book). Wow, what a small world :)

  5. All five of your recommendations are new to me - that's so exciting! Thanks for sharing! Especially Ruby Red - it sounds excellent. I haven't watched Revenge because I never get around to watching TV until it's on DVD for some reason. I hope they keep it going for ya, though!

    Now I'm off to find out which scene was in Rothenburg ob der Tauber! Fun, a quest!

    1. It's probably best to wait on Revenge anyway until you know whether it's been renewed or cancelled. It's terrible getting into a show and then having it cancelled on you. And it's much more fun to watch them back to back without having to wait a week for the next episode.

      I think the scene from HP was Gregorovitch's house or something. Probably nothing major, but it's still cool :)

  6. Ruby Red sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to book 2 :)

  7. Ooh, RUBY RED does sound fantastic, and you're right: the cover is beautiful! And RETURN TO ME... I love that movie. I don't feel like it gets nearly enough props for its awesomeness. That scene at the beginning after Duchovny's character returns from the accident and he's dealing with this dog... heartbreaking!

    1. I agree with you on RETURN TO ME. There needs to be more rom-coms like that one. I'm tired of all of the raunchy rom-coms that have come out lately (stupid Judd Apatow). You're right, the whole opening segment after his wife's accident is heart-wrenching, especially the part with the dog.

  8. Oooh, I remember Great Big Sea from when they performed downtown at Parliament Hill on Canada Day last year! They remind me a bit of the genre celtic punk, which is basically Great Big Sea jazzed up to sound similar to metal. Pretty snazzy stuff. :D I've heard good things about Ruby Red, but in general I'm a little wary of translations because I find the writing never quite makes it all the way through, so there's periods of awkwardness. What did you think?

    1. I love Great Big Sea and even saw them in concert in Saskatoon. Very fun show :)

      Ruby Red was really good. I wouldn't say it was amazing, but I definitely enjoyed it. I didn't notice that it felt lost in translation or anything.

  9. Rothenberg looks so cool!!! There's a small Bavarian town just outside of Seattle called Leavenworth, that looks very similar.
    And I haven't started in on Revenge yet, but everyone here at the office loves it! It seems to be getting great reviews, so hopefully they bring it back next season, too!
    Thanks for the great recos!

    1. There's a Bavarian town (city?) in Michigan as well called Frankenmuth. We used to visit there all the time. They had the best food and a really cool (huge!) Christmas shop there as well. I haven't been in years, but I'd love to go again :)

      Revenge is definitely worth watching, and it'll be even better to watch as many episodes as you want back to back. That's the beauty of waiting to start watching something. I sure hope it gets renewed.

      P.S. Thanks for sending the matrix! :)

  10. I'm pretty sure Revenge will be back next season. I thought it had already been renewed, but I checked again and noticed it's "more likely to be renewed than cancelled," according to TV By the Numbers.

    Ellie, who has 3 blogs in the challenge
    Ellie's Blank Book
    Ellie's Couch
    Help Michigan Pets

    1. I hope so. It's too good of a show to get canned :)

  11. I really enjoyed RUBY RED--I wish I had kept taking German past 11th grade, but due to irreconcilable differences with the teacher, I dropped the class. I think it was the right decision at the time but I really enjoyed learning the language and keep telling myself I'll go take another class. (The problem is that it's so impractical--really I should learn Spanish, if I'm going to stay in public education. Or--at our school--Urdu or Bengali or Hindi.)

    And I like that song--my Irish-ness comes out most strongly in my food and music tastes. (Basically, if you can put a starch inside another starch, and possible serve it with a side of starch? I'm there. I recently tried a fried potato and egg sandwich for the first time. Heaven.)

    1. It's taking way too long for SAPPHIRE BLUE to come out (October 2012). Way too long. Oh well, guess that means I'll need to reread RUBY RED before then. Darn. :)

      It's amazing how much German I actually remember from when I lived there, and then only just briefly. I doubt it's enough to read Kerstin Gier's books in the original language, though.

      I laughed pretty hard at all the starch stuff. Too funny :D All of us with Irish heritage can't seem to get enough of the starchy foods, I guess.


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