Friday, November 28, 2014

Book review: Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

Either at the very end of high school or the very beginning of college, I watched a movie called Stardust with two of my best friends from high school. We knew little about the movie except that it was a fairy tale for grown ups. I think we didn't love it initially, but then we watched the bloopers, and then we loved it.

Fast forward many years and I discovered Stardust the movie was based off Stardust the book, which was written by Neil Gaiman, an author I'd heard loads about but whose work I'd never read.

Gaiman does an amazing job leading you through a world where you slowly notice more and more magic. The book truly feels mystical and magical and brings you into its world.

I loved Stardust the book. The movie followed the storyline of the book pretty well, so there weren't a lot of surprises (until the end, at least -- it's a bit different), but the book was (as most books are) so much more emotional and heartfelt. I loved it. 

If you're interested in trying audio, the author narrates this one himself and it is exceptionally well done. Highly recommended! I gave it four stars.

Have any of you read (or watched) Stardust? What did you think?


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Friday, November 21, 2014

Book review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

I heard a LOT of wonderful things about this book before picking it up and it didn't disappoint. 

Conor is a young kid dealing with a really tough situation. As he's struggling to just make it through every day life, a monster starts appearing. It incites him to do some awful things and then disappears, leaving Conor both with the consequences and wondering if the monster is even real.

I don't want to say too much, because if this book hasn't been spoiled for you, I don't want to be the one who does. But it was very well written, very emotional, and something I think a lot of kids could relate to.

If you're interested in trying audio, this one is narrated by the man who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies and it is very well done.

Have any of you read A Monster Calls? What did you think?


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Book review: A Practical Wedding

A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Getting engaged is exhilarating…until it sets in that a wedding costs three times what you thought, and takes five to ten times the effort it reasonably should. And then there are the expectations: from calligraphy invitations to satin chair-covers, all those things that Must Be Done or everyone will be Horribly Offended. Or will they?

A Practical Wedding helps you create the wedding you want—without going broke or crazy in the process. After all, what really matters on your wedding day, what you’ll remember ‘til you’re old and gray, is not so much how it looked as how it felt. In this refreshing guide, expert Meg Keene shares her secrets to planning a beautiful celebration that reflects your taste and your relationship. You’ll discover:

The real purpose of engagement (hint: it’s not just about the planning) How to pinpoint what matters most to you and your partner DIY-ing your wedding: brilliant or crazy? Affording a wedding without having to cut your guest list How to communicate decisions with your family Why that color-coded spreadsheet is actually worth it Wedding Zen can be yours. Meg walks you through everything from choosing a venue to writing vows, complete with stories and advice from women who have been in the trenches, the Team Practical brides. So here’s to the joyful wedding, the sensible wedding, the unbelievably fun wedding! A Practical Wedding is your complete guide to getting married with grace.

Okay, so definitely not a typical book I'd review on my blog. BUT. A few weeks (months?) ago, Genna recommended this book, and I loved it so I thought it deserved a plug on the blog.

Guys, I haven't planned that much for my wedding yet and I've already had several stressful moments, or moments where I felt pressure about different aspects of the wedding and how they should go or what people would expect or whatever. I'm not someone who has been planning my wedding for infinity or who feels I have to stick to traditions (shmaditions). But there were still things I was thinking that probably shouldn't have been on my mind even a little bit. Like, if we have a ceremony in a different place than our reception and the ceremony is really short, people will be annoyed that we made them go all the way out there.* 

*totally not a thing I should worry about. I know. I knoooow.

But this book? Totally down to earth and calming. Reassuring. Reminded me that as long as our wedding is what me and Pat want, it will be a perfect wedding.

If you're engaged, or if you're planning a wedding or reception, or if you have a friend who is and is stressed out, I highly recommend this book.

Thanks for the tip, Genna!


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