The Princess and the Scoundrel Book Review

A wedding is supposed to represent a new chapter in our lives. It is an opportunity to walk hand in hand with our new spouse for what hopefully will be the rest of our lives. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything will be sunshine and roses.

The new Star Wars novel, The Princess and the Scoundrel (not to be confused with the similarly named podcast), by Beth Revis, was published last month. It takes place just after the events of Return of the Jedi. There is obviously a reason to celebrate. The Empire has been destroyed and democracy is being returned to the galaxy.

After everything he has been through, Han Solo is ready for a fresh start. That fresh start includes settling down with Princess Leia Organa. When he proposes, she says yes. Though she knows that she wants to marry Han, Leia is still burdened by her experience during the war and her newly discovered bloodline.

After their vows are complete, they hope that their honeymoon on the Halcyon will be the break they both need. As usual “hope” is the keyword. Leia is still in work mode and Han stumbles upon a plan to kill his wife. With the remnants of the Empire still fighting for their cause, Han and Leia learn one thing: that they work best as a team.

I loved this book. It goes without saying that you have to know the characters and the narrative from the original trilogy to have a basic understanding of the story. That being said, there is more than enough (including plenty of easter eggs) to keep the fanbase happy.

It is a lovely extension of where their relationship, taking it in new directions while remaining true to the groundwork that has already been laid. In addition, knowing how their marriage ends, it’s nice to know that they had a few good years before everything fell apart.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Princess and the Scoundrel are available wherever books are sold.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi Review

When the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, premiered in 1977, no one could have foreseen the narrative junctions that have come out of this one movie.

The new DisneyPlus miniseries, Obi-Wan Kenobi, premiered on Friday. Ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith (2005) the Jedi appear to have been wiped out. But a few have survived in hiding. The Empire sends The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) to find those that are still alive. One of the Inquisitor’s lieutenants, Inquisitor Reva, Third Sister (Moses Ingram) is intent on locating one Jedi in particular: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). His former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker (now known as Darth Vader) is eager to see his former master again

While living under another name, Obi-Wan is keeping an eye on Anakin’s son, Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely). But Luke’s Uncle and guardian, Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) would prefer that his nephew remains in the dark. Meanwhile, on Alderaan, Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped. Her parents turn to Obi-Wan to rescue their daughter.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is amazing. After watching both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, I thought nothing would top them. I was wrong. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. There were multiple easter eggs (if you know where to look), many mouth drops, and quite a few expletives. I am already hooked and ready for the rest of the series.

It would be easy to make another soulless sequel. But it is not. It is full of so much love and respect for the material that it radiates from the screen. McGregor is back in perfect form, with the obligatory changes since the last time we saw the character. He is starting to become the grizzled old man who has come to terms with what was and will never be again. But there is still a little bit of hope, just enough to inspire him to pick up the lightsaber one last time.

Do I recommend it? 100% yes. Don’t be surprised if the program makes the cut for “best of” lists in December.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is available for streaming on DisneyPlus. New episodes premiere on Friday.

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The Little Girl Singing “Let It Go” in Ukraine Gives Me Hope

It is easy to go down a dark rabbit hole when war is knocking at your door.

The war in Ukraine has been going on for more than two weeks. The images of death, destruction, and millions of refugees leaving the country are enough to make one believe that the future is bleak.

Then hope arrived in the most unlikely of ways.

Earlier this week, a video was released of a young girl in an air raid shelter singingLet It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.

Her innocence is the light in the darkness that we all need right now. There is obviously no way to know when this war will end. But even with all of the heaviness, there is something to fight for and someone who believes in the possibilities that the future holds.

Carrie Fisher, 5 Years Gone

Carrie Fisher died five years ago today. Known for her role as Princess/General Leia Organa in the Stars Wars film franchise (among other roles), she was a respected writer and a mental health warrior. Dogged by mental illness and drug addiction for most of her life, it would have been easy to let both diseases get the best of her.

Though her death was and still is tragic, the fact that she was able to find a way to survive both for as long as she did will forever be a huge inspiration to me.

I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.

May her memory forever be a blessing. Z”l.

Happy Birthday Carrie Fisher

Today is the birthday of the late, great, Carrie Fisher.

I could extoll the virtues of this all around badass, writer, icon, and mental health warrior. But I will let her speak for herself.

Happy Birthday, wherever you are.

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge Book Review

A good biography does much more than provide the basic facts found on any general internet search. It introduces the reader to the real person that is sometimes hidden behind history and the PR machine.

In 2019, Sheila Weller published Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge. The biography tells the story of the late and beloved actress, writer, and mental health advocate. Born to Hollywood royalty Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, her early years were not all sunshine and roses. Her most famous role was that of Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise. Like her off-screen counterpart, Leia was a bad-ass, smart mouthed woman who did not conform to the idea of what a woman (and a princess) should be. She also lived with bipolar disorder and addiction, demons that stayed with her until the very end.

I loved this book. As much as I knew about Ms. Fisher before I read it, I learned even more. She was intelligent, incredibly funny, smartass, loyal to those she loved, and vulnerable. What made this one special was that it showed her humanity. It is a complete picture of a woman who has inspired generations of fans, women, and those living with mental illness to not be afraid of being who they are.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Carrie Fisher: 4 Years Gone, and it Still Hurts

Today is the 4th anniversary of the passing of Carrie Fisher. Though somethings have changed, the ache remains. Though I never had the chance to meet her, her example of living in spite of the challenges she faced continues to be an inspiration.

In honor of everything she represented and still represents, I will let her Star Wars co-star and on-screen twin, Mark Hamill take it from here.

Wherever you are Carrie, we miss you. RIP.

Thoughts On the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back

*A New Hope will be referred to as ANH and Empire Strikes Back will be referred to as ESB.

Logically speaking, we know that a film (unless it is a documentary) is a work of fiction. It is the cumulative work of many who come together to create a final product that seems real. But a good film has a way of touching the audience in a way that lasts well beyond the final credits.

Thursday was the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The second of three films in the first Star Wars trilogy, it is widely ranked as one of the best films in the overall series. While it’s predecessor, A New Hope, is the simple story of how a farm boy, a princess and a pirate destroy an evil empire, ESB takes that basic concept and expands it tenfold.

From a writing perspective, ESB is everything one would want in a sequel. The characters have grown and are facing new challenges. The world that the story takes place in is wider. The stakes are higher as the Empire has rebounded and is eager to take back the ground that they lost in ANH.

From a fan perspective, there are two major narratives that will forever hold a place in my heart. I love the will they or won’t they between Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). The tension between them is absolutely perfect. I think that it goes without saying that the exchange between Han and Leia just before he is frozen in Carbonite is simple, sexy and utterly romantic.

And then, there is the most jaw dropping revelation in film history. To this day, new fans watch this scene and their minds are still blown that Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father is no other than Darth Vader.

Here is to the 40th anniversary of the Empire Strikes Back. May this film live on for another 40 years and beyond.

We Miss You, Carrie And Debbie

Two years ago today, we lost one of the brightest lights in our world: actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.

A day later, her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds also departed this world.

Both women dealt with troubles that would have sent lesser women into a state of lifelong emotional turmoil. But both came out of their troubles stronger, wiser and funnier.

Carrie is best remembered for playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars films, though she had a long and varied career. She was also a writer and openly spoke of her issues with drugs and mental illness, encouraging others to do the same. For speaking openly about her battles with mental illness alone, she will always be one of my personal heroes.

Debbie Reynolds burst onto the screen and into our public consciousness in the 1952 film, Singin’ in the Rain.

There are some people in this world, who when they die, leave a cultural mark that will forever be with us. Both Debbie and Carrie left those marks that will be with us long after this generation has moved onto the next world.

RIP. In the words of our mutual ancestors, Z”l.

 

Carrie Fisher-Gone A Year Today

 

A year ago today, Carrie Fisher passed away.

Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.

Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.

After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood.  She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.

The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.

For that, she will always be my hero.

RIP Carrie. A year still seems like yesterday.

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