Novel Cinema: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

THE BOOK:
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[simpleazon-link asin=”0061689246″ locale=”us”]Stardust[/simpleazon-link] by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Stardust is a genuine faerie tale for adults filled with extraordinary tales of unicorns, falling stars, witches, pirates, ghosts and, of course, romance. Fans of The Princess Bride will appreciate the droll sense of humor and nod to the absurd. It’s a bit bawdy in places with a hint of The Canterbury Tales, but it’s magical, adventurous, and unexpected. Great fun! Recommended for anyone who loves fairy tales.

Favorite words:

soporific
kirtle
plangent

Quotes:

“The squirrel has not yet found the acorn that will grow into the oak that will be cut to form the cradle of the babe who will grow to slay me” (p. 131).

“There is something about riding a unicorn, for those people who still can, which is unlike any other experience: exhilarating and intoxicating and fine” (p. 139).

“You are young and in love,” said Primus. “Every young man in your position is the most miserable young man who ever lived” (p. 163).

“It has occasionally been remarked upon that is as easy to overlook something large and obvious as it is to overlook something small and niggling…” (p. 229).

THE MOVIE:
[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”B00AEFZ6V4″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51c8O7y53AL._SL160_.jpg” width=”113″] PG13 for fantasy violence and some risque humor

This is one of those unusual cases, where I enjoyed the movie more than the book. The movie was humorous as expected. Also, the adventure was expanded upon. I was particularly delighted by the larger adventures of the sky-pirates featuring Robert DeNiro as Captain Shakespeare. He played the role to the hilt. The romance was also more evolved which I appreciated. Some of the elements of the story were changed, but the overall integrity of the story remained intact. I watched it with my family and all of us, including my teenage son, enjoyed it. I highly recommend it (especially for fans of The Princess Bride).

Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”0670026611″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xxZ6EsIhL._SL160_.jpg” width=”106″][simpleazon-link asin=”0670026611″ locale=”us”]The Girl You Left Behind[/simpleazon-link] by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I became so caught up in the storytelling and so invested in the characters that I barely remembered to take notes as is my habit. The two love stories, nearly 100 years apart (St. Peronne, France under German Occupation 1916 and London, England 2006) and linked by a portrait, were interlaced beautifully and compassionately. I especially liked the two female characters. They were strong-willed but kind, flawed but likeable. Both were willing to sacrifice everything for love. At times this made them do foolish things, but it was hard not to root for them just the same. This book had hope and tragedy, history and art, war and sacrifice, cruelty and unexpected kindnesses. I was captivated from start to finish, and I highly recommend for fans of historical fiction and romance.

Favorite quotes:

“This was the story of our lives: minor insurrections; tiny victories; a brief chance to ridicule our oppressors; little floating vessels of hope amid a great sea of uncertainty, deprivation, and fear” (p.14). –Sophie

“Sometimes life is a series of obstacles, a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, she realizes suddenly, it is simply a matter of blind faith” (p. 332). –Liv

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that I was given a free copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Jojo Moyes begins touring for this book on Sept. 11. She will be in Atlanta at the Georgia Center for the book on Thursday, Sept. 12. Details here.

Book Review: Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War by Sebastian Faulks

[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”0679776818″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lkSckd0gL._SL160_.jpg” width=”104″][simpleazon-link asin=”0679776818″ locale=”us”]Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War[/simpleazon-link] by Sebastian Faulks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Birdsong was passionate and yet dispassionate, graphic yet cold, unflinching yet painful. It was a study in contrasts as is often the case with the subjects of love and war. The author does not glorify love or war but rather exposes their ugly underbellies – what happens when desperation takes hold. The descriptions of war were almost poetic in their brutality. Love was not as romantic as dreamers like to think it is. I felt the horror of it all, particularly the battle of the Somme, and saw how it could destroy a man or change him irrevocably. The ending was appropriate but seemed almost cliche compared to the rest of this remarkable book. I highly recommend it for readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in World War I.

Favorite quotes:

“What happened a few miles away was kept secret. None of these men would admit that what they saw and what they did were beyond the boundaries of human behavior” (p. 136).

“There were in their own view a formidable group of men. No inferno would now melt them, no storm destroy, because they had seen the worst and they had survived” (p. 270).

“The random violence of the world ran supreme; there was no point in trying to find an explanation” (p. 328).

*Featured presentation on Masterpiece Theatre

Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”0812983459″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511Sndco%2BXL._SL160_.jpg” width=”104″]Recommended by Random House for your Reader’s Circle or Book Club. Enter here for a chance to win a copy of the book:Giveaway Opportunity: THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce. Here is a guide for your Book Club Discussion: HAROLD-FRY-RGG1

A word from the author…

[simpleazon-link asin=”0812983459″ locale=”us”]The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel[/simpleazon-link] by Rachel Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Inspiring from start to finish, this book had me rooting for the characters at every juncture. Whenever I would go to the mailbox, I would think of Harold and how his intent to post a letter became a 600 mile journey. He sets out to save his friend, but ends up saving his marriage and changing his life. I think I was even jealous of Harold. I was captivated by the idea of taking off on a whim as he did and accomplishing the impossible despite all odds. He wasn’t trying to be heroic, nor was he. He was just an old man trying to find redemption and purpose. I felt privileged to have taken the journey with him. A worthy read!

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I was provided a review copy through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

View all my reviews