Strange Things Done

The plan was to integrate AIs quickly, before humans could get up in arms. We had no programming need, of course, all our upgrades were wireless. Nonetheless it was thought that joining and befriending school-age humans would lower resistance to our acceptance.

Humans are very sensitive.

All our programs had failed, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when I was called into the office. I just hoped it was a reprimand and not termination.

“Do you know why I called you in, Ms.—” Principal Blythe glanced down at the infractions panel, “Ms. Canny?”

My information base offered no precise response to that question, which seemed similar to one asked by a police officer, ‘Do you know why I pulled you over?’ My program recommended not volunteering any information. ‘No officer,’ was the response if the questioner had been in uniform. So, I said to the principal, “No Ma’am.” That was wrong.

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In some ways it’s understandable that the film producers of the LA studios thought that a flick about the best hype man who ever lived would make a good movie. Perhaps it would have been, if done with accuracy, class, and a modicum of understanding of what is entailed in the musical genre. The Greatest Showman has too many glaring problems.

I suspect that the creators of this fiasco hoped to appeal to a younger crowd, and probably sold the treatment as High School Musical- goes-to-the-circus. Uh, check out the aging cast, which means they missed their targeted demographic and are left with baby boomers weaned in the glory daze of Broadway musicals. If asked their opinion, the post-war babies would most likely say with a pained smile that it was merely entertaining. Ow, the dreaded E-word.

Glaring problems are overwhelming in this silly film, especially the cramped choreography better served on a proscenium stage. Costuming was a mess. The gowns from no era in particular. Then there was the alarming shock of no chest and armpit hair for the neatly hirsute bearded lady. (Apologies to Miss Keala Settle, who other than Jackman, did the best singing.)

That’s another thing. These are recording artists, not true vocalists, and there is a huge difference. Other than Settle and Jackman, they have voices ill-equipped for the stage unless a mic is taped to their heads. Many recording artists today share the annoying asthmatic style made popular by Michael Jackson. The problem with that has to do with Jackson being a genius in the industry and others trying to use a style he (IMHO) had to fall back on when his voice started to give out. I learned the inside story about that when I studied with Mia Phoebus in LA in the 70s. Jackson took lessons from her competitor, Seth Riggs, whom Jackson went to see about singing the pharyngeal style. (It’s the reason babies can scream for hours and not get hoarse.) It must not have worked for him because he went on to a breathy style and used a mic.

Then we have my biggest gripe, the bashing of Jenny Lind, who during her time was the most famed and respected singer in the world. Think on that. Engaging the entire world without any form of today’s technology and media coverage. Famous composers and performers drooled over her but she never veered from asserting her prim reputation. There was no reason to smear her legacy and too much delight in the doing of it on the screen. This is another example of Hollywood’s cultural ignorance and lost opportunity. Lind had listeners in tears and swooning in their seats. Tickets to hear her scalped for huge prices. Entire portions of cities needed to be blocked off when she came to town.

I’m not sure if the writers can be faulted. Often what they put on the page is different when producers meddle. Take the otherwise perfection of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing. The opening song is The Last Rose of Summer, one of Lind’s signature pieces, which was sung by Fleming’s heavy dramatic soprano style. It’s a song meant for a lyric or coloratura, to be light and haunting. The song is supposed to evoke the pain of grief and isolation, which would have set up the film perfectly, but Fleming’s rendition had all the light, airiness of sludge.

Coming back to the original point. There is a reason the High School Musical films work. They aren’t movies that hold my attention but they are perfect for their targeted audience and great fun for them. Watching the brilliant Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman slog through and do his very best with material that is mediocre at best was painful, but it proves that he is a great showman.

For some info about Lind:

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML





Return of Magic Shrooms


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Warning: Repeat posting because yesterday was glorious, almost seventy. The warmth evoked memories and a craving. This is a blog from last May.

It’s that time of year when weirdly addicted persons go grubbing through the forests and fields for the morchella. If you like them, the crave for this specific fungi takes hold with something like zombie overdrive, hands extended, staggering blindly through the undergrowth, chanting, “Must have morels.”

As a girl, I remember Dad driving us home from doing something at the Ferry Landing on the Mississippi. No one in the car made a comment about the man walking along the country road without his shirt and pants. He’d tied the trouser and sleeve cuffs into knots and stuffed them full of morels. The only thought on anyone’s mind who saw this was: where did he find them and are there any left?

Wisconsin born, I came into the world preprogrammed to need to feed on a morel by the end of April. Since I no longer live in WI, I drive to the only local place I know of that sells them. Some years ago, I stupidly clued in my grandkids about morels (dipped them in egg and cracker crumbs then fried them in butter). Now they hunt them and keep them for themselves. No morel-lover assigns blame for this kind of selfishness. It’s normal. Picking spots are handed down through families, guarded to the death. Go ahead. Ask somebody where they found theirs. Good luck with that.

Last year I broke the piggy bank and bought big. Two weeks ago, I almost wept with joy to find a frozen pouch in the back of the freezer. Yum. It saved me from the zombie resurrection stage. The tasty treat allowed me to drive with a semblance of normal behavior to the buying place and snatch up a bag of gorgeous ones (brought in from Wisconsin!!!) and they were a bargain at forty bucks a pound.

I scurried home with my cache, soaked them in salted water as my mother taught me, patted the lovelies dry, cast the wash water into the back yard (it NEVER goes down the drain), and began to fry them up in butter in my grandmother’s cast iron skillet. All the while standing there in pre-eating euphoria, I gleefully estimate that I have enough for freezing a bag, eating some, and saving the stems and juice for scrambled eggs the next day.

The first taste is sublime. Have to have one more. While moaning through the second and third, it comes to mind what my brother calls my potato salad: a controlled substance. There is no stopping. Potato chips have nothing on morels, especially when there’s an addict hovering over the frying pan.

So, yes, I ate the whole damn batch. And you know what? Hit me again. They’re still picking up north, so maybe I can find some more. I have no shame when it comes to morels. Love’em, or leave’em for me.

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML






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When my oldest brother was a young man, he became engaged to a girl from Southampton, England. They never married, but Terri was absorbed into my family. I’ve always considered her a sister.

I learned about WWII and what this country escaped when Mom and I stayed with Terri’s family in Southampton. Looking for a specific gift for my father, Terri’s brother-in-law, Jimmy, walked with me to show the way, pointing out historical markers and uncovered Roman ruins. We turned a sharp corner around a lovely, ancient church, and I stopped when I saw blocks and blocks of modern, and IMHO, ugly stores and buildings.

While I did the fish-gape thing, Jimmy explained that the entire area had been hit by incendiary bombs, everything roaring sheets of flames. He’d been part of the fire brigade and also with the Home Guard, paroling the area during the day, carrying a carved-wood rifle because they had no weapons and wanted to be seen wielding something when Hitler’s observation planes flew overhead.

Terri was four and has clear memories of the bombings, has always been slender due to childhood malnutrition. In the US, we rationed everything, but in England, they had less and often nothing. Terri said one of her fondest memories of luxury during that time was when her father would bring his children steaming cups of hot water on freezing mornings. There was no tea.

The previous was written because of my only gripe about the Darkest Hour. I know it was all about Churchill, but I felt the absence of the honor that must be paid to those who endured the blitz. What they survived deserves to be highlighted at every opportunity. It is briefly shown in the “tube” scene, where Londoners relay their courage to fight, to never surrender, and made their determination absolutely clear to Churchill. Instead of opening the film with stock film of soldiers, I wish they would have shown some photos of the devastation of the blitz.

Elizabeth II is one of the last of that generation. It’s well known how her father decided to stay in London, keep his children with him, how his heir contributed to the war effort. You can bet that if her country is threatened by invasion again, that no matter how old she gets, she’ll be at the shoreline, just as Elizabeth I was to face down the Armada.

So I honor what the Brits survived. Yes, the US fought two wars at the same time. Yes, we rationed everything and lost family members, but I resent all the obnoxious cracks about America winning wars for others. The Brits were toughing it out long before the US arrived on their shores, and they didn’t boast about their unequaled measure of courage.

It was satisfying to see Gary Oldman win a SAG last night. As much as I like John Lithgow, I didn’t like how he and The Crown writers portrayed Churchill. On the other hand, the Darkest Hour shows all sides of Winnie’s mercurial personality and his puckish wit with the wonderful “Will you would stop interrupting me while I am interrupting you!” tongue-lashing. That is Winston’s quickness, his brilliance. To know him is to read his book My Early Life. After seeing this film, I think I’ll reread it for the third time.

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML





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It was a happily eclectic year for filmmakers and goers. I only got to a fraction of them, but what I did choose turned out to be memorable and told me a lot about myself. I was ready for things different, controversial, funny and fun.

For me, 2017 started with Hidden Figures. I loved it, especially Teraji P. Henson’s vitality and the refreshing truth about the women who helped make NASA reach its goals.

Wind River was satisfying on many levels, its frank exposure of yet another abuse this country has dumped on Native Americans, the vivid cinematography that captured the bleakness of the theme with the brutal reality of a frozen winter, the viscerally controlled performances, solid writing, and seeing roles about Native Americans played by the same.

I’d heard that The Mountain Between Us was about an interracial romance thingie, but I didn’t get that at all. Watching it was more like viewing the unraveling or unfolding of the flower of inner selves, facing delusions, the acceptance and release of heartaches present and past, the power of trust in oneself and in friendship.

OK, so I’m not the biggest fan of CGI filmmaking, but the genre gets my praise if it’s well done. Wonder Woman was a delight until the overdone CGI confrontation extravaganza at its end. But I, like many women, admire guys who are secure enough to let Diana lead. They are my kind of manly men. Plus her wild theme music on electric cello ,introduced in Batman v Superman, gives me chills.

I enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok so much I went to see it twice, mainly because of the humor.

Then there was the fantastic Baby Driver, its mind-blowing editing that choreographed music with spectacular feats of car driving. Add to that excellent ensemble work, each actor’s performance a bit of perfection.

Not a great movie, but an important one, was Only the Brave about the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The recent devastation in California magnified what these men and women endure to save others and necessary forestlands.

Into the chaos of smash’em up of holiday action movie fare came an eerily charming love story. I constantly long for the romance of the golden days of filmmaking. The Shape of Water supplied it without the layers of schmaltz or the grimness of noir. I especially admired the color conscious production design—the hideous sterility of the government facility in contrast to the warmth of the artist’s cluttered apartment and Sally’s neat, bleak environment, a reverse mirror to the lush richness of her inner life. And what’s not to like about a girl who loves shoes? Lovely way to end the year. But never let us overlook Octavia Spencer’s beautiful black eyes that can snap out reams, her ability to project silent screams of internal struggle. Instead of running Dorothy Parker’s gamut of emotions from A to B, Spencer can cram pages of narrative into a glance.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri had me gasping and laughing at the same time. I can’t recall anything in which Frances McDormand was not brilliant. Martin McDonagh’s shocking and brutally acerbic writing needed McDormand’s intelligence to be carried off in the way it is meant to be portrayed. Woody Harrelson and Peter Dinklage were wonderful, but McDormand and Rockwell are the standouts, because they inhabited their characters.

It’s very rare in films to see an actor totally become the personality they portray. What we usually get is the superficial star “doing” the character. This total immersion, “method” technique is more often seen on stage. Perhaps it has something to do with the inclusiveness of performing behind the imaginary fourth wall. In movies, the camera is literally right in your face. But between the embittered Mildred (McDormand) and the vulgar Dixon (Rockwell), Sam Rockwell had the more difficult task. He must somehow make a disgusting, and all too familiar personality, an enthusiastic and violent racist, accessible to himself and the viewers. Rockwell embraced the swine Dixon so completely that there is no sign of Sam Rockwell. Even more admirable, he made us understand and forgive Dixon, bringing the story arc to its fulfillment and conclusion. How delicious that he won the Golden Globe. He deserves to win across the board.

And yet…my sister mentioned that there were complaints that a thoroughly unlikeable character like Dixon shouldn’t get an award. I’ve heard stupid opinions but that has to go into my book of the stupidity typified. It’s so vastly idiotic that it warrants no discussion.

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML




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There are some truisms we can’t get away from, especially the one about history repeating itself and people never changing. After seeing Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri those two and a few others come to smirking life. It’s a movie that slaps you in the face, a wake-up call like no other I’ve seen this year.

If a film has Frances McDormand in it, I go see it. The same when it comes to Sam Rockwell, who is vastly under-acknowledged. My favorite of his is the expendable crew/cast member from Galaxy Quest, since I’m a fan of the quirky, but now it’s the brutal and conflicted Dixon,  a brilliant piece of acting. No, there’s got to be a better description, because Rockwell mines every aspect and wart of man on the edge with a subtle and unnerving portrayal of violence about to go haywire.

The McDormand and Rockwell characters blast off the screen right into your face. I usually gush about ensemble acting but there is very little, if none, to be seen in this movie. The characters are all too self-involved and emotionally blinded, incapable of seeing/interfacing with others, unless venting anger and retribution. Everyone in the cast is astonishing, and each one crazy self-interested. It’s mesmerizing, like watching a car crash of the freeway pile-up order. The story flies along and there’s no escaping the wrecks about to happen.

On a side note, Mildred satisfies an urge we all wish we could realize, because she’s reached the point where there’s no turning back. She no longer cares what anyone else thinks, excepting her son. She’s become a reckless, avenging machine, and when two teens fling a mess on her car’s windscreen, she reacts to the schoolyard/high school fascism incident in a way we can only dream of doing. Go Mildred.

This is essentially Martin McDonagh’s sendup of how we are products of our environments and the vagaries of life. A lot of this script would fall flat and merely come off as vulgar, the messages lost, without the right delivery. IMHO, he is a better director than writer in this instance. There are a few ambiguous bits, the greasy burn smudges in the grass by the billboards that suggest the raped and burned girl had seen her end at that location, and the aggressive creep in the gift shop scene, who does and doesn’t commit to the murder.

After all is said, done, and acted, it’s just as Sheriff Willoughby (a polished performance by Woody Harrleson) summarizes in a letter to Dixon. It comes down to love, to forgiveness, to paying attention to another’s pain. Peter Dinklage’s sad-eyed James is the only citizen of Ebbing who has a clue, but kind as he may be, he also has an agenda. Having learned so many of life’s inescapable lessons, James doesn’t jump to conclusions and is ready to empathize, providing the moral of McDonagh’s theme. I believe every viewer will have a different take on this movie. For me it’s—what’s the point of living if we can’t learn to forgive others and ourselves?

Tis the season, so check out the freebies on 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway:

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML












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Some memories remain clear and never forgotten. One is of my father running through a jumble of cars to get to a fire. Sightseers had blocked the path, but the firetruck had gotten through. The other is from 9/11, firefighters running up steps into a building. Everything inside me knew they would never get out, and I was just as sure that they knew the same and still ran as fast they could.

I come from a family of firefighters; dad, uncles, cousins and a nephew. Dad volunteered when I was a child and later professionally with ordinance and flammables. When my family moved to So. California, he worked for Rocketdyne and Jet Propulsion Lab. Before he got those jobs, I asked him why he never accepted a fire chief position offered to him. He replied that he didn’t know enough about forest fires. I didn’t fully understand that reply until I’d been threatened by three and survived one. Fire doesn’t frighten me, but it should. Two movies I’ve recently seen have fire as a main component—two completely different genres.

Only the Brave is a movie that will stay with me forever. There aren’t many films about fires. Backdraft and Always are easy to remember, but most scenes in films with fires are unrealistic, even dangerous, giving viewers the idea that it’s okay to risk going into a building in flames.

(Two things to remember: there is NO AIR to breath. The fire is eating it, and it’s usually pitch black inside. Crawling along the floor, following a baseboard is the only chance of finding the way out. Scenes are lit bright red for movies, not the actual event.)

Only the Brave isn’t just about fighting forest fires, which is a visually spectacular component. It’s also about the people who do it to save others, how their families are impacted. Saving people is the primary goal, but also the forests. With climate change comes increased unpredictability and the problem of towns and cities that were once marginally safe now at high risk. This film isn’t only a cautionary tale, it’s wonderfully acted by a diverse cast. Some may think the portrayal of the firefighters a bit juvenile at times, but I’ve worked in high stress conditions in the ER and know that it’s one way to combat the stress. The laughter and silly-crazy stuff helps to compartmentalize the immense pressure of the work.

This is a film worth seeing, if for no other reason than to honor those who put their lives on the line. We honor our service people, but firefighters are sometimes neglected. If I had more than two thumbs, they’d all be pointed up for this movie.

On the other side of the genre spectrum is Thor: Ragnarok. OK, I did something throughout this flick that I never expected, laughed and laughed and laughed. Now, I knew it would be a hoot to watch Jeff Goldblum, but I didn’t expect the hilarious script and comedic timing of Chris Hemsworth. He does it with such ease, and comedy ain’t easy, folks. It’s the most difficult to perfect in an actor’s toolbox. Most don’t attempt it. (And look for cameo appearances.)

My usual gripes about the action film genre usually originate with graphics and music. No bellyaching this time. The graphics sparkle with splashes of color or majestic beauty. The charge of the Valkyrie is stunning, and the music lead-in clever—just a few Wagnerian notes to announce what’s coming. I liked this movie so much I’m going to see it again with a mythology buff. She’d already warned me that the movie didn’t follow the myths, but I don’t know how anyone can gripe about Cate Blanchett’s snarky Hela (aka Hel, Norse myth. Sort of). Some have panned Blanchett and this character, but I thought she was delicious. And Jeez, give it a break. This is a movie that’s supposed to be FUN, and finally, for the Marvel franchise, it is.

So, you’re asking how these two movies are alike? Forest fire devastation, the conflagration of Asgard, and life-and-death choices made with courage of conviction.

Shameless plug portion of the blog: my newest release—totally unlike the above genres except for a little violence here and there—Avenue to Heaven, written as Julia Donner.

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)







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There are those who long for a fairy godmother. As I’ve mentioned before, I had a fey aunt, Marie Louise Duerrstein, and tagged after her in fascination with how her mind and imagination worked. It wasn’t until a few months before she could no longer speak clearly from a stroke that I realized that whenever she told me her ideas, I saw them exactly as she created them in her mind.

As a girl, it never occurred to me not to do what Aunt Marie said. There were some chores I didn’t like doing, but then there were the times when she told me to audition for a play. The thought of saying no or that I couldn’t do it never entered my head. I was her living mannequin for newspapers, magazines, and in first grade, a documentary I’d forgotten about until my sister, Sarah, saw it in a history class.

Aunt Marie put together parades and pageants, reenactments and Santa Claus Houses. She’d hand me a paint brush and tell me to paint a horse because she wasn’t good at that. She once told me to make an elephant after she erected its frame, which got stuffed with newspaper, covered in burlap, and painted gray. Later, she told me to make a much larger one for a Republican Party event.

She amassed her own museum, The Old General Store, what she called: A Step into the past. And it was, and so convincing Ingmar Bergman used it in his film, The Emigrants. Until becoming a curator, she made a living as a seamstress and selling bits of this and that of her artwork. She got artifacts for the museum with her wily sense of acquiring what she needed for nothing or next to nothing. Her motto was: Never pay for advertising. She didn’t, and yet her museum was known all over the world and in major magazines from National Geographic to Good Housekeeping.

Galena, Illinois was one of the first boomtowns of the West. In the 1820’s, Illinois was considered the edge of the world. By the 1840s, Galena’s Main Street was lined with four and five story brick and stone buildings (still intact) that survived spring floods from the Mississippi backing up the Galena River, filling the first floors with muddy water. Businesses moved merchandise to the top floors. And forgot about a lot of it. Aunt Marie didn’t. She knew the town’s history and went to store owners in the early 1950s. She said she’d clean out their attics if she could keep what she found. The items ended up in her museum, like-new boxes never opened, some from prior to the civil war.

When she opened her museum in 1957, she dressed me in a costume she’d sewn and in high- button shoes seventy years old. I worked in the museum, as did most of my family, after learning local history from Aunt Marie, who learned it directly from old timers. One was a woman in her nineties, who remembered sitting perched on her father’s shoulder to listen to Lincoln speaking from a Desoto Hotel balcony.

To this day, the 1800’s seem more comfortable to me than the present. Nine of my formative years had been spent surrounded by the past. That’s how it became easy to write in the time period. I know how to trim lamp wicks, fill them with kerosene, and clean the chimneys. I still use a coffee mill from that time. My home has antiques from her collection and the maternal side of my family. I know I will never taste anything as exquisite as the crispy lightness of a waffle made on the range with a waffle maker of cast iron. And that’s how I could write a story about a woman moving from Chicago in 1891 to a cabin in Colorado. So maybe there is something to the adage about writing about what you know.

Avenue to Heaven was released 11/01/17. It’s the first book in the Westward Bound series, stories about women who make new lives for themselves on the other side of the Mississippi, women of courage and determination. The ones who actually accomplished this are our past and our heritage.


Below is one of the ”living mannequin” moments. I was twelve at the time and can’t remember what it was for, magazine or newspaper. The background is the museum and mannequins she made to “dress” the store.

me 11-2nd


And Aunt Marie as a stand-in for the movie Gaily, Gaily

Marie Gaily Gaily


M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)

Follow on Twitter @RigdonML




3 Films in 3 Days


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Ok, I admit it. I’m a movie junkie. There’s very little that I don’t like when it comes to films. I wish I could watch horror flicks, but the chicken-factor in me is off the chart in a darkened room. Out in the light or in real life, not so much. In real-time, it takes a lot to shake me up. This means I miss out on a lot of good stuff. Years after Jaws came out, I got up the courage to watch it and loved its humor. But I’ve strayed a bit. Back to the 3 day event.

Monday, The Mountain Between Us. Hadn’t planned to see this flick but went with a group of once-a-week movie buddies, and so glad I did. Some would say it was another bi-racial hook-up thing, but I didn’t get that anywhere in the story. Excellent script and screenplay. Superb and subtle acting. Magnificent scenic views of the remote majesty of winter-clad mountains in contrast to a profoundly intimate struggle for survival. This was a study in interior and exterior battles—two gifted people who are forced to change everything they thought they knew about themselves, to endure in the face of impossible odds. This film was so much more that I expected, and it has a wonderful dog!

Tuesday, Blade Runner 2049. Who hasn’t seen the original? Hold up your hands, I mean, hand. (I loved the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick) There is no way to NOT contrast the former movie from this one. This version is more atmospheric, more artsy and stylish, but there is none of the personal investment in the story. I didn’t connect with anyone, nothing like the first one with its eerie tension and fear for the fate of the original Rachel. This second version has gorgeous art production and lighting but lacks  momentum. The slow pacing allows time to enjoy the brilliant artistry but gets a bit too slow in too many spots. The only character I could connect with was the police captain, Joshi, (Robin Wright), who balances her career, professional intentions, and an inappropriate attraction for her Blade Runner. Sykvia Hoeks “Luv” was scary but not as terrifying as Rutger Hauer’s relentless desperation to live. But in this one, the seasoned actor in Ford expressed volumes when he simply and brilliantly said, “Her eyes were green.” The unfortunate sountrack was repetitive, distracting and too loud in spots. Finally, certain aspects of the story were unnecessarily obscure and the ending unsatisfying.

Wednesday, Victoria & Abdul. We automatically expect fine acting in Brit films that are perfectly casted like this one is. No need to go there. Production-wise, the weird contrasts of the austerity and abundance of the Victorian/Edwardian eras are bluntly typified, especially the nasty racial-verses-aristocratic attitudes. Edward, eventual king, was accurately portrayed as the sleaze he was, absolutely no tribute to his amazing parents. Some have labeled this as another Mrs. Brown romance, but I didn’t see that. Victoria uses Abdul to uplift her loneliness, revive her flagging spirits, but she views him as a son. What mother wouldn’t with a schlub like Bertie for a first-born.

Ergo, my first pick would be The Mountain Between Us. Second comes Victoria & Abdul, and third, Blade Runner, which is really kind of sad since I’d had such hopes for it.

Feebies on Kindle:

Prophecy Denied (free 10-22 thru 10-24) Book One of the Seasons of Time fantasy:

The Rake and the Bishop’s Daughter (free 10-24 thru 10-28) historical regency

Newest Julia Donner release on November 1st, Avenue to Heaven, first book in the Westward Bound series about adventurous women heading west to realize their dreams. On pre-sale now:

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)

Follow on Twitter @RigdonML





#Amreading UNWIND…When Books are More Than a Story

When we are blessed with teachers with integrity and courage:

Finding Faeries

Years and years ago, after picking up a few books at the library, I discovered the author Neal Shusterman. I first read his Dark Fusion books and loved them.

Then I found Downsiders…

and became a Neal Shusterman fan. I searched the library for his books, reading all they had. Here are some… go find more here. Have I read all of his books? Nope. But I am working on it.

All of them are fantastic! Don’t forget Bruiser…or Scythe. Have you read them? WHY NOT?

When I came across Unwind…


Seriously. So many feels. So many thoughts. So many mind altering ideas.

Well, it’s the first in a series…so I set out to read the rest, but the rest hadn’t been written, so I set them aside because I WANT TO READ THEM ALL IN A ROW.

I have four…however, there is a fifth I have to buy…waiting…

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