The Finest Hours – a review

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The synopsis:

On Feb. 18, 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) bravely takes charge to organize a strategy for his fellow survivors. As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard in Chatham, Mass., Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring rescue mission. Despite the ferocious weather, coxswain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) takes three men on a lifeboat to try and save the crew against seemingly impossible odds.

Deep breathe. Wow.

This movie certainly has anticipation down. I think I was holding my breath for half the movie, and when I left the theatre, my ticket was shredded into ribbons in my pocket from working it through my fingers during the many tense moments in this film.

I love a story that can invoke so much emotion. That is surely the point of creating anything in the first place. The last time I felt so much anticipation in a film was Unstoppable, also based on a true story. I may have to re-watch it and put a blog of here sometime soon.

In the mean-time, go watch The Finest Hours.

One of the best aspects of this movie is that it shows the harrowing events taking place both on-board the stern of the sinking oil tanker, and the experiences of the Coast Guard crew trying to reach them. Both stories were incredibly interesting and could have comprised a movie in themselves, but having both perspectives in the same one shows how incredible it was that the rescue was able to succeed and the narrow odds both crews were up against.

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Although I suspect that some creative liberties were taken in the scenes depicted, mostly due to the extremely dramatic nature, this was still a remarkable feat of will. As I sat in the theatre, I couldn’t help but think how awe-inspiring humanity can be the iron will every man exhibited to keep struggling towards life. From the actions of the sailors fighting to buy time and keep a sinking ship alive for as long as possible, in the hopes (not knowledge) that someone was coming to save them, to the Coast Guard crew who went out on a suicide mission, fully expecting to never even make it to the sinking ship, it was one heroic moment after another.

And the Coast Guard seemed to think their cutter was a surf board, cruising over, and under, massive stormy waves.

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The story made me think of soldiers in war and this movie inspired a whole new level of respect for Coast Guard members, and their families, for the dangers faced and sacrifices made, in serving. We all know that the Navy can be grounded due to poor conditions, but the Coast Guard cannot. Their mandate is to serve; if there is a ship in distress, the Coast Guard will respond.

One of the themes repeated throughout is that the Coast Guard always goes out. They don’t have to come back. This is so very different from the Marine motto of never leave a man behind and it shows the differences in mindset between the two organizations. Management in other corps will weigh the costs and benefits of performing a certain mission, and plan for the least number of casualties possible. The Coast Guard just goes out, because they don’t have the option to re-plan, re-schedule or just the “null”.

Casey Affleck and Chris Pine were both magnificent in this film. Although I was more drawn to Affleck’s character, I couldn’t help but compare Chris Pine to some of his other notable roles such as Captain Kirk (Star Trek) or Prince Charming (Into the Woods), simply because this one was so different. I love versatile actors and consider them one of the greats when they can inhabit such different characters with apparent ease, rather than sticking to the same role in thirty different productions. Chris Pine is surely a great.

Clearly I am a huge fan of The Finest Hours. It brought up a whole lot of similar feeling films that I want to go re-watch now. Hopefully I will get some blogs up on here shortly.

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xx

 

 

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Favourite Author Series – Christine Feehan

This is the third in a series of three blogs discussing my favourite authors. They are written to help readers who may be looking for new books, and to thank my favourite authors for their efforts by publicizing their works.

(By the way, the spacing is messed up in this post and the previous couple and I have no idea why. I tried to fix it like twenty times, but the updates aren’t taking. Please forgive).

Christine Feehan was my favourite author for ten years or so. I absolutely loved her and couldn’t pass a book up. I salivated over a new release for weeks, if not months, obsessively stalking her website for when the first chapter and promotional book trailer were posted, and then participated in the comments section.

The last couple of years I have moved on to other who have surpassed her as my favourite authors (see my two previous blog posts) but she is still in my top three and will likely be so for a long time. Christine currently writes four series. Below is a bit about each one, with some hunky cover art.

The Leopard Series:

This series is about the a race that evolved alongside the rest of humanity and they can change into leopards. Feehan describes them as being companions to one another with both species residing in the same body. The are romance novels but slide up against the barrier of erotica. They are her most erotic series.

I have loved the last three books to come out, but the author seemed to have trouble finding her stride with this particular series. The first four or five books weren’t as popular as the ones in her other series, but they have greatly improved since. If you are on the fence about reading them, you could skip the first few and start with Burning Wild or even Savage Nature without losing very much background information. While reading all of the books in her series in order will give you a better sense of each community, they are written in a way that allows them to be read as stand-a-lones.

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Series order:

#1 The Awakening

#2 Wild Rain

#3 Burning Wild

#4 Wild Fire

#5 Savage Nature

#6 Leopard’s Prey

#7 Cat’s Lair

#8 Wild Cat (pub November 2015)

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The Dark Series :

This is the oldest and longest-running series by Christine Feehan. There are twenty-odd books published with many more announced. They are about an ancient Carpathian species existing in the modern day world. Similar to vampires, only honourable and possessing many more gifts, they are a separate species from humans and on the verge of extinction when leaders realize that women who have special powers (clairvoyant, etc) can survive the conversion and find their lifemates.

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The Dark series is amazing and has a ton of books in it. Most are full novels but there are also a few novellas.

Along the way, the author has introduced other human-like races such as mages and lycans into the mix, but my favourite aspect of the series is its focus: a lifemated couple. I love the fact that they can talk to each other telepathically – this is a Carpathian gift so even if the woman wasn’t able to before, she can so after her conversion. I envy them this intimacy. How amazing must it be to be able to share all your thoughts and emotions with the person you spend all eternity with.

Series order:   *novellas marked (n)

#1 Dark Prince   #2 Dark Desire   #3 Dark Gold   #4 Dark Magic   #5 Dark Challenge

#6 Dark Fire  #7 Dark Dream(n) #8 Dark Legend  #9 Dark Guardian  #10 Dark Symphony

#11 Dark Descent(n) #12 Dark Melody  #13 Dark Destiny  #14 Dark Hunger (n)

#15 Dark Secret   #16 Dark Demon   #17 Dark Celebration   #18 Dark Possession

#19 Dark Curse   #20 Dark Slayer   #21 Dark Peril   #22 Dark Predator   #23 Dark Storm

#24 Dark Lycan   #25 Dark Wolf   #26 Dark Blood   #27 Dark Crime (n) (pub Aug 2015)

#28 Dark Ghost (pub September 2016)     #29 Dark Promises (pub March 2016)

The Ghostwalker series:

The Ghostwalkers are book versions of action movies. While still romance, they are the most popular series among men. They feature heroes who are military specialists (Seals, Rangers, etc) and have been genetically enhanced to have physical and mental super-abilities, including psychic gifts. Many of the women in this series have also received military training. They are enhanced, and many were raised in laboratory settings, unlike their male counterparts.

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I love the ghostwalkers books for their action and sense of team camaraderie. I like how you get more than just the main couple, you see interactions between teammates and their women. When done well, this is my favourite aspect of a story in books and media.

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Series order:

#1 Shadow Game  #2 Mind Game  #3 Night Game  #4 Conspiracy Game

#5 Deadly Game  #6 Predatory Game   #7 Murder Game   #8 Street Game

#9 Ruthless Game   #10 Samurai Game  #11 Viper Game  #12 Spider Game (pub Jan 2016)

Sea Haven:

Feehan’s Sea Haven books are my favourite series that she writes. It started out with an original seven books about the Drake Sisters, seven sisters who inherited magical gifts from their mother. There is an ancient prophecy in their family that each seventh daughter will produce seven more daughters who will inherit the gifts and pass them on to her children. Each generation, when all seven are grown, the prophecy unfolds and each will find the one they are meant to be with in life, over the course of a year.

Although there is a supernatural element to the stories, The Twilight Before Christmas is the only story that features it heavily. The remainder of the books are contemporary romance, with sexy heroes, most of whom have a military past. There are over-arching themes and storylines so I would strongly suggest you read them in order. This would be the most important series to read in order, IMHO.

Series order:

#1 Magic in the Wind (novella)

#2 Twilight Before Christmas

#3 Oceans of Fire

#4 Dangerous Tides

#5 Safe Harbor

#6 Turbulent Seas

#7 Hidden Currents

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After the last Drake Sisters book was released, Hidden Currents, a sister series was released about other inhabitants of Sea Haven. There is some crossover of characters and the books are similar. They are about 6 sisters of the heart, women who found each other in group counselling and decided to buy a farm together in Sea Haven. They also possess special talents, and are bound to elements that they can control. This series is two thirds finished unfolding.

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Fire Bound and the as-yet-untitled sixth book should be out in the next two years. After they are released, the Sea Haven saga will continue with a new series about its residents. The author has released very little information thus far, but the bits and pieces of information floating around make me suspect that this series will be about other Russian specialists, like Aleksandr (Oceans of Fire) will be coming to settle down. Hopefully Feehan accelerates the rate at which this series is released!

Other:

There are a few other books that are stand-a-lones. The Scarletti Curse and The Lair of the Lion were both very early pre-cursors to Dark Symphony but they are in no way considered to be Carpathian novels.

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Christine also wrote the novella Rocky Mountain Christmas which was a novella in The Shadows of Christmas Past and After the Music, another Christmas novella from A Very Gothic Christmas.

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I highly recommend each of the three authors I have written about and hope you give them a chance. My thanks and appreciation to Ann Mayburn, Cherise Sinclair and Christine Feehan for all the hard work and hours of love poured into each tale.

Now that I have finished this mini-series of blogs, I’m going to go back to my regular reviews and ramblings. I have a ton of books to review, and a few movies, that I’ve been holding onto. My OCD tendencies wouldn’t let add something in part way through.

xx