The Sun is Also a Star | Book Review

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Title: The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Rating: 4stars

This book has been a huge deal in bookish blogs and on Instagram, and rightly so. While it’s not one of my all time favorite books, I really enjoyed it. The main story takes place over one day in New York City. Natasha and Daniel meet, Daniel is smitten right away, and Natasha takes a longer time to come around.

The writing style was really different in that instead of long chapters, there were shorter segments written from different people’s points of view. It made it really quick and fun to read. I really liked getting to know little snippets about the side characters, like what they were feeling and what their backgrounds were, even if the interactions they had with the main characters were so fleeting.

I expected this story to be a bit cheesy, but it never was. I liked how the relationship developed between Natasha and Daniel, and how well their different personalities came together. Natasha is more cynical and scientific, and Daniel is a poet with romanticized ideas about things.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I went on a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the end and I didn’t expect it to all come together like that. I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun and easy read. It’s cute, it’s quick, but it remains grounded and doesn’t go too over the top with cheesiness or romance.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, however all opinions are my own.

 

Dream Author Panel

Wouldn’t it be so fun to get to see your favorite authors at a panel together? That actually might be possible! Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events and conferences in your area. As far as my dream panel goes, there are so many authors I love so it’s really hard to narrow it down to a few, but I tried to stick with a cohesive theme for it.

My favorite genre is magical realism. I cannot get enough of it. I love the whimsy and magical elements in a real world setting. I thought that would be the perfect panel theme: magical realism authors.

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Sarah Addison Allen – She is, hands down, my favorite author. Her way of writing helps me perfectly imagine these gorgeous southern towns in her books and there is always a dash of magical realism and whimsy. Can I also take a second to talk about the foods and recipes she adds in her books? They really add something special to the experience as she describes the foods and their different powers/properties, like in Garden  Spells, and then will include the recipe in the book. I love the characters she creates and I would happily pack up and move to any of the towns in her books because she makes them seem so charming.

Charles de Lint – His books were my first experience with the magical realism genre, before I even knew that was an actual genre. I liked fantasy books and the cover of Dreams Underfoot caught my eye. The beginning of the synopsis says, “Welcome to the music clubs, the waterfront, the alleyways where ancient myths and magic spill into the modern world.” Once I read that one, I was hooked and bought armfuls of his other books. I love the characters he creates and how their stories intertwine in the urban, yet magical town of Newford.

Alice Hoffman – After reading all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books, I needed more magical realism in my life. So many people on book forums recommended Alice Hoffman. I decided to give Practical Magic a try, and my need for this genre has been satisfied once again! I’m sure most people have read the book or at least seen the movie, but it’s about two girls, Gillian and Sally, who live with their elderly aunts who “encourage the whispers of witchery [from the townspeople], with their darkened house, their love concoctions and their crowd of black cats”.

I would love to find out how the authors toe the line between complete fantasy worlds and and the “real” world when writing, because it’s a delicate and perfect balance they create, in my opinion. It seems like it would be too easy to just go all out and make a complete fantasy world, but to balance it with contemporary seems like it needs to be carefully done so that it remains believable. I would also love to know what inspires them to add that dash of magic into their books because that’s what makes them so special, in my opinion.

Which authors would make up your dream panel?

Book Review – Hollow City

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Title: Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Synopsis: The book, as the second in the series, picks up just after the wights have ransacked Miss Peregrine’s time loop. The monsters captured the children’s caretaker ymbryne, but the kids rescued Miss Peregrine from the wights. The book begins with the children paddling through the sea between Wales and England while the wights pursue them in submarines. Although they were able to rescue Miss Peregrine, she remains stuck in the form of a peregrine falcon.

Rating: 4stars

 

I recently finished the second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, and I can’t get enough of this trilogy. I will try to limit spoilers in this review, because it had some twists and turns that I was not expecting!

I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book – some people seemed to love it while others thought that it was boring. I am in the first category, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The reader is thrown into the adventure right away in Hollow City as the peculiar children try to save Miss Peregrine and help her turn back into a human. I thought this book was full of action and mystery and I was hooked right away.

I really liked getting to know the characters better and I feel like there was a lot of character development and some of them got to shine a bit more in this book that had a more minor role in the first one. It’s so hard to write this without spoiling things!

I felt deeply invested in the characters and the story, remaining nervous but hopeful that their mission would succeed. This book took the characters into and out of various loops where they made some friends and met some enemies. The majority of the book takes place in a war-torn London, and I was on the edge of my seat as the characters tried to beat the clock to help Miss Peregrine.

The ending had a twist that I did not see coming at all. I felt a mix of shock and horror after reading it, and also a ton of curiosity as to where the third book in the series is going to lead.

All I can say is I highly recommend this book if you liked the first one in the series. If you haven’t read the first book yet, I highly recommend that you do so! It’s such a fun adventure and full of moments that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I can’t wait to read Library of Souls to see how the story concludes.

Have you read Hollow City? How did you feel about it?

 

 

Book Review – The Fir Tree

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Title: The Fir Tree

Author: Hans Christian Andersen

Illustrator: Sanna Annukka

Synopsis: Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic tale of naive greed and dissatisfaction is retold through the striking and contemporary illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in rich forest green, with gold foil embellishments, The Fir Tree is elevated from a children’s book to a unique work of art and makes an ideal gift for people of all ages.

Rating: 5-stars

After receiving The Snow Queen and falling in love with the gorgeous art style by Sanna Annukka, I couldn’t resist choosing this copy of The Fir Tree. The story is about a little fir tree that wants nothing more than to be tall and important. He keeps waiting for the best moments of his life to happen, and doesn’t end up appreciating his current situation until it is too late. It’s a very quick and easy read, and definitely makes you take a moment to appreciate and assess your own life. It’s too easy to get caught up into things and not appreciate the small moments in the present. I think this is a great book for all ages because adults will be able to appreciate the gorgeous illustrations and the story is simple enough for children to understand and appreciate.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, however all opinions are my own.

Movie Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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I’m not sure that movie reviews are going to be a staple feature on my blog, mostly because I’m weird about movies and tend to get bored halfway through and want to move onto something else, but I figured it might be fun to talk about sometimes.

Since I just posted my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (the book), I thought it’d be fitting to talk about the movie while it’s still fresh in my mind. This review will contain spoilers, so please stop reading or proceed cautiously if you don’t want anything spoiled.

The movie starts out with a bit of backstory in which the protagonist, Jake (Asa Butterfield), is shown pictures and told stories by his grandfather, Abe (Terrence Stamp), about a home for peculiar children that Abe used to live in, run by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). The older Jake gets, the less he believes these stories, until his grandfather suddenly dies and Jake comes face to face with something horrifying.

He is sent to therapy to cope, and after getting a birthday present from his late grandfather, he and his father (Chris O’Dowd) set off to a small island off the coast of Wales so that Jake can discover the truth about his grandfather’s stories.

The first half of the movie was pretty fast paced in which Jake met Miss Peregrine and the peculiars, who were charming but didn’t get much of a chance to shine. I didn’t really like the fact that they changed Emma and Olive’s powers for the movie, although I understand why it had to be done to make some later scenes work. I liked Ella Purnell as Emma. She looked perfectly ethereal in her blue dress while floating in the air. I felt that she was a bit more firey in the book, personality-wise and literally with the fire power, and I missed that. I did like her shoes, though. I wouldn’t mind a pair of those myself, as long as they didn’t weigh as much as they did in the movie. 😉

I wanted more time getting to know the kids and Miss Peregrine. I really liked Miss Peregrine in the book, but in the movie I felt like she was there for one minute and gone the next. Judi Dench was on screen for a brief moment as Miss Avocet, which was a tiny role and seemed like a waste of her talent, but I guess even a little cameo is nice.

The second half of the movie is where it started to go downhill for me. Samuel L. Jackson shows up as Mr. Barron, the shapeshifter who has deceived Jake by posing as his therapist and we find out he led the hollow to kill his grandfather, Abe, in the beginning of his movie. Mr. Barron takes Miss Peregrine and other ymbrynes (women who can manipulate time and turn into birds, and overseers of peculiar children to protect them) to perform an experiment try to achieve immortality for himself.

I’m pretty open-minded when movies stray from the books, but I just couldn’t stay on board once they got to the amusement park. It felt like an excuse to use a bunch of CGI, like with the skeleton fight scene. I liked Enoch (Finlay MacMillan) in the movie, but I felt like his struggles in the books with his power, being a dead-riser, felt a lot more believable than all of a sudden commanding an entire skeleton army to do his bidding against the hollows.

I won’t spoil the ending completely, but I thought it felt pretty farfetched and did not go in the direction I thought it would. It strayed a lot from the ending of the book, but I haven’t read the second book yet so maybe it’d still be a good set up for the next movie (if they make another one).

Overall, the movie left me wanting something. Everyone was likeable enough, except Mr. Barron, of course, but I felt like it lacked the charm and depth that the book had. I was so invested in the characters while I was reading the book, but I thought a lot of them felt pretty flat in the movie. The acting was believeable, though, and I liked the cinematography. The town Jake and his dad visit and the house Miss Peregrine and the children live in were exactly how I pictured them. My husband (who has not read the book) thought the movie was good. It seems that the movie is easier to accept when you’re not comparing it to everything that goes on in the book. I still think it’s worth a watch, but I did not like it as much as I hoped I would, and definitely not as much as I liked the book.

Rating:  pink-stars-three

Have you seen the movie? How did you feel about it?