Why the book is always better than the movie

Book to Movie library-better-than-movie_000

People always say the book is better than the movie.  Well I am here to tell you that is accurate.  Really all you need to do is watch a movie based on a beloved book and be completely and utterly disappointed by its silver screen performance to have many reasons why the book is always better than the movie, but I’m going to highlight a few of the main reasons.

When books are turned into movies events are often changed.  Sometimes they are minor changes sometimes major, but they always seem to be exactly the piece that you love.

Don’t Understand the Movie?  Read the Book!

Not only that but often the part of the plot that gets changed from book to movie, whether minor or major, leaves a big gaping hole in the story.  This leads to confusion in the audience who haven’t read the book, anger in those who have, and worst of all misinformation about parts of the story.

Sometimes I feel I need to scold people when they walk out of seeing a movie based on a book who say, “Well that was good, but I didn’t really understand some of it.”  Read the book!  You’d be amazed how many gaps will be filled in if you do that instead of just relying on the movies.

Once I overheard some women discussing Harry Potter.   One of them was very confused about the relationship between two of the characters, and another one explained it.  She got everything wrong, but she was very certain that she was correct.

I knew immediately that they had not read any of the books.  It took all of my willpower not to turn to them and give them a crash course on everything Harry Potter, and end by telling them to read the books.

I had a professor in college who loved The Lord of the Rings, and he said he could always tell whenever people had only seen the movies.  They always referred to them as a trilogy.  It’s not a trilogy.  The Lord of the Rings is actually one big volume broken up into six books not three.  Those who have read the book know that.

My professor was always annoyed with the trilogy people who claim to love The Lord of the Rings so much.  If you think it’s a trilogy you may love the movies, but you don’t love the real Lord of the Rings.

What Book is this anyway?

Sometimes certain points of books are not left out of movies.  Sometimes the entire plot of the story is completely changed.  So much so that even if you have read the book, you leave the theatre just as confused as everyone else.  So much so you’re not even sure if what you saw was actually based on the book it said it was.

One example I have of this is Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief.  I love this book, I love the whole series.  The movie was vastly disappointing.

Aside from the fact that they used the same title and character names it could have been a completely different story.  This happens much more often than people think, and it is always hugely disappointing to the people who truly love the book and are looking forward to seeing it come to life on screen.

More Information

I do understand that as a movie that will be under three hours, screenwriters cannot include everything from book to movie.  Some things will get lost in translation.

That’s another reason why books are always better than the movies.  Books have more space.  They can flush out everything.

Even when the movie actually stays pretty close to the mark there are always some things that don’t get put in.  In the book you have access to everything.   Every single piece of information is put in regarding the story so you never feel lost or confused (even if you have to read it a few times).

Tips for Book-based Movie Watching

Now I am not saying do not go to movies based on books.  I certainly do and the way things have been lately if you don’t go to movies based on books you may never go to the movies again.  When you do here are some tips to help you enjoy the movie instead of spending the entire time complaining about how it’s nothing like the book:

  • Know going in that this movie will not be like the book.  Remember things always get taken out from book to movie whether small or big.  Prepare for both.
  • The author of the book usually has very little or no say in the writing of the movie script.  Understand that this happens.
  • Remember there is a limited amount of time to work with in a movie so don’t go in expecting everything to be gone into in detail.  It won’t be.  Make peace with that now.
  • There are things that you can get from the movie that you can’t get in the book.  Like getting to see the characters you love come to life, or maybe there was an action sequence that can be better clarified on the screen then in words.  Find those things and focus on them (instead of everything that they got wrong).
  • Enjoy the movie as a movie and try not to compare it too much to the book.  You’ll only be disappointed, and you might miss out on a movie that actually is a good.

Now of course even following these tips you’re probably going to find a movie that has disgraced the book so much nothing will stop you from being angry and that’s perfectly fine.

Let’s face it even if the movie is good the book will always be better, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the movie too.  They’re going to keep making them and we’ll all keep seeing them; we might even enjoy a few.

But the book will always be better than the movie, so remember:

neverjudgeabookbyitsmovie

 

 

The Heretic Queen Review

Summary the heretic queen

The world of Nefertari is brought to life in Michelle Moran’s exciting work of historical fiction, The Heretic Queen.

In Ancient Egypt as the star of the nineteenth dynasty takes the throne, it is from the previous, despised, dynasty he will take his queen.

The eighteenth dynasty of Egypt has burned.  The hated Nefertiti and Akhenaten along with their monotheistic regime are gone.  Nefertari, niece of Nefertiti, is the only remnant of this royal family that remains.

Taken in by Seti I and raised in his court she is given free reign to run wild and do as she pleases.  But as she grows older Nefertari realizes she must find a stable position in the dynasty or be cast aside.

Under the guidance of the Priestess of Hathor (and Seti’s sister) Nefertari is taught and cultured.  Learning everything a queen would need to know.

When Ramses II becomes pharaoh it is Nefertari that catches his eye, and the two wed.  But Nefertari comes from a family of branded heretics; from a dynasty the people of Egypt fear will be repeated.

As tensions run high and with scheming political adversaries around every corner, Nefertari will have to work quickly and cleverly to save the man she loves, and prove to the people of Egypt that she is deserving of being his queen.

Thoughts on The Heretic Queen

This is an excellent work of historical fiction.  It keeps the suspense up even as it pulls from legitimate and well researched historical fact.

I really enjoy Michelle Moran’s work, especially how she always finds a fairly well known period of history, and then tells it from the perspective of a not well known character.

Although she was queen to Ramses, not much is known about Nefertari.  Part of that is because Ramses the Great kind of eclipsed everything, but another reason is because Nefertari herself is kind of a mystery.  Even though her tomb has been discovered, archaeologists still debate over who she actually was and where she came from.

The most likely theory is the one Michelle Moran uses in this book: that Nefertari was the niece of Nefertiti.  Having the story told by Nefertari herself was also very well done and I highly enjoyed it.

It is clear that Moran did her research as Nefertari’s thoughts and actions are so believable that sometimes you have to remember that this is fiction!

Nefertari herself I loved.  She was a very complex character just as the real Nefertari was a complex woman.  I liked how you got to see from the perspective of an actual wife of a pharaoh, how that job description was much more involved than people think.

Obviously as his wife you have to give him children, preferably male children, and for a Princess of Egypt that is as far as it goes; but not for a Queen.  I like how this book showed Nefertari’s intelligence, cleverness, and tactfulness in matters of politics especially with other empires.  She was not just a pretty face.

The romance in this story was eye-opening.  I never considered that the pharaoh in Ancient Egypt who had so many wives could legitimately love one of them.  I suppose that’s modern bias, but reading this book changed all of that.

Underneath all the political tension and battles with invading empires, this is a love story at heart.  There are numerous occasions in the book where Ramses shows that he truly loves Nefertari; especially when he favors her over his other wife Iset.  Reading this romance gave me goosebumps it was so beautiful.

Of course it wasn’t all a bed of roses as Nefertari finds herself working against many adversaries who will do anything to make sure Ramses does not name her his Chief Wife, and thus Queen of Egypt.

Her main allies include her beloved nurse Merit who raised her and Woserit Priestess of Hathor and one of Pharaoh Seti’s sisters.

But it is Pharaoh’s other sister, Henuttway a Priestess of Isis, Nefertari must watch out for.  She is backing Iset to become Ramses’s queen and will do anything to make sure it happens; even betray him.

The Heretic Queen will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Nefertari through war, love, and political ambitions as she fights for her place at Ramses’s side.

From her own witty perspective Nefertari shares her story, and perhaps even sheds some light on the real Nefertari.  The only woman to ever enchant the heart of Ramses the Great.

Other Details

My Recommendation: This book can be found in the adult fiction section of any bookstore, but I’d say around sixteen and up would be fine to read it.  Remember just because something is in the adult section does not necessarily mean that someone under eighteen can’t enjoy reading it!

Author: Michelle Moran

Genre(s): historical fiction, romance

Pages: 382

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

First Released: 2008

Towne Book Center and Cafe

The Road To Towne towne book center

This is a bookstore favored by the locals of Collegeville, Pennsylvania (I’m happy to be one of them!).  Family-owned this local hangout has a warm friendly feeling that invites you in.

And not only are the shelves lined with a multitude of stories to read, the bookstore has its own story to tell.  It was a long road, and several name and location changes, before it became known as the Towne Book Center and Cafe.

In 1990 a franchise bookstore called The Little Professor opened its doors.  The family, loving what they were doing in their community and doing it well, took the bookstore into their own hands.  In 1996 the store became the independently owned Trappe Book Center named after the shopping center in Trappe, Pennsylvania, it was located in.

In 2011, with the building of the new shopping center in Collegeville, the Town Providence Center, this beloved bookstore was given a new opportunity and new life once again.  They were one of the first stores to take up residency and renamed themselves again becoming the Towne Book Center and Cafe.

As a loyal customer of the Trappe Book Center I of course followed them to Collegeville, and admittedly was at first worried that it would be too different from the bookstore I had grown up loving.  Well there was one major difference I found.  It was even bigger than before!  Books were everywhere as far as the eye can see, and now they had a cafe too!  Change can be a good thing.

Supportive Staff

The Towne Book Center has continued to be a community landmark for book lovers.  Some of their staff have been with them since Trappe and are thus very well acquainted with what the bookstore houses.

And even those who have only worked at Towne are highly knowledgeable about what’s in stock.  Because really you can’t not love this place!  Everyone there is friendly and helpful, ready to help you find that perfect book.

Books, Books Everywhere…With Coffee

As soon as you walk in the front door you are met with shelves of new releases and bestsellers, that then lead you off into numerous sections with books of all kinds.

They’ve got non-fiction, cook books, travel books, a huge fiction section which breaks off into mystery, romance, and a whole wall full of science-fiction (fantasy books are also included here).

They have a whole teen section, and with their larger pace were able to add an entire children’s area which holds a beautifully painted jungle scene above it.

A special thing that I enjoy is that this independent bookstore does have a manga/graphic novel section.  A market this store was smart enough to get into.

Pretty much whatever you’re book fancy you can find at the book center (they even have the latest magazines!).  If you happen to come across a book you want that you just can’t find, however, no worries!  Just ask the staff at the register to order it for you.  They’ll be happy to help you find any book you desire.

The best thing about ordering from them is even though they give you a range of dates of when your book will arrive, usually your book ends up arriving much earlier than expected.  I can personally attest to this.

One of the greatest editions that was made when Trappe became Towne was the cafe.  Full of fabulous coffee and tea drinks, like a blended caramel coffee drink perfect for a hot summer day (or any day really).  Not to mention their delectable desserts.  The peanut butter cookies are to die for!

The cafe also comes along with a spacious seating area where you can sit, relax, read, and enjoy your coffee and dessert.

Special Events and Community Groups

The cafe’s large area does become highly useful on certain occasions when special people pop into the book center.  Lisa Scottoline has made several stops to promote her books, and other authors often stop in for a signing.

The book center also does events for popular series books, and allows you to pre-order the next volume so that you can get it immediately when it is released.  I have fond memories of their Harry Potter all night parties at Trappe.  Packed in and waiting for the clock to strike midnight and then stampeding toward our pre-ordered books.

Aside from the special events the book center also has regular book club meetings, themed tea parties (the Frozen tea party was a huge hit), writing groups, and many other activities.

Promoting the Local at the Local

As a local independent bookstore, Towne Book Center enjoys promoting local authors and artists.  You can find local artwork hung throughout the store and books by local authors are always prominently featured.

The Towne Book Center is a wonderful family-owned bookstore that really reaches out to the community and makes you feel welcome.  This was shown in the 2014 Hot List where it won third place in the bookstore category.

It has something for everyone so stop on by and have a look around.  As soon as you step in you’ll want to make it you’re new home for books, and if you’re just passing through the area mark it as a spot to rest and relax on your travels.  The Towne Book Center is a bookstore you’ll never forget!

Learn More

Want to learn more about the Towne Book Center?  Check out their website:

http://www.townebc.com/

The Betrayal Knows My Name Review

Quick info about this type of book review before I get started.  This book is a manga, and as anyone who reads manga knows the title is for the entire series not just one book.  As such for this and any other manga I look at it, the review will be of the series as a whole (whether finished or ongoing).

Summary the betrayal knows my name

The Betrayal Knows My Name starts with a boy named Yuki Sakurai.  He has been raised in an orphanage since he was a baby.  He has a kind heart and helpful nature, but has always felt somehow alone and constantly fearing that people will find out about his strange ability to see people’s deepest secrets and cruelest emotions.  The darkest parts of their hearts are open to Yuki through one simple touch.

Left in the bushes in front of the orphanage, no one ever saw or knew who his parents were or where he came from.  Yuki wants more than anything to be needed, and wishes to know what his purpose is.  Why was he born?  Just as Yuki turns fifteen and starts high school his questions will be answered in the strangest way.

Trying to aid a friend Yuki is nearly run down by a car, and saved at the last moment by a strikingly beautiful man with silver eyes.  Eyes that seem to tug at something deep in Yuki’s soul.

Before Yuki can even understand his sudden feeling of connection to a man he’s only just met, he is attacked by monster-like creatures.  He is saved by the silvered-eye man again as well as two high school students.

Then Yuki learns of the battle between the Giou Clan, a clan whose members have supernatural abilities like his own, and the Duras, or demons.  This battle has been raging for over a thousand years, with the same warriors of the Giou being reborn again and again until it is done.  It is a battle that Yuki has a large role in.  A role he has played many times before.

Moving to Tokyo to take his place among the Giou, Yuki must learn to control his powers if he is to help his new found family.  But far greater challenges than Yuki knows await him.  Will he be able to figure out why he feels such a strong connection to the silver-eyed Duras, Luka who seems to have joined the Giou solely to protect Yuki?  And when the true reason for this war comes to light will Yuki be able to handle a betrayal he never saw coming?

Thoughts on The Betrayal Knows My Name

I have read many a manga in my time.  So many in fact that at one point I found that I couldn’t get into them like I used to.  The Betrayal Knows My Name changed all that.  I could not put it down.  I read the first volume, and had to get the rest as soon as possible.

I’ve often said that the best characters in manga have tragic back stories.  It’s a sad fact, but if a character does not have a tragic back story (or no back story at all) they are not that great of a character in manga.

In this manga all the characters blew me away.  They all have perfect tragic back stories (with a bunch of past lives behind them of course they would).  This makes excellent fodder for the emotional depth of the plot as the characters must work out many hard things while already in the very hard situation of war.

I love them all really, but if I told you about all the characters we’d be here all day.  The main focus of this manga is the character Yuki and his relationship with everyone, especially Luka.

Those two have a very important relationship linking back to Yuki’s past life.  I won’t go into full details here because I want you to read it for yourselves, but their relationship is the one I really love the most.

Luka really is the perfect guy and Yuki you really just want to hug.  He’s always trying to solve everyone else’s problems no matter how much pain it causes him and never worrying about himself.  But never fear that’s what Luka is there for.

I really love both of these characters, and have reread their numerous scenes together just because I can’t get enough.  I really want them to be happy.  I really want all the characters to end up happy.

That’s the way this manga makes you feel.  Like you know them all and want them to be happy in the end because after a thousand years of war they deserve it.

The title was what drew me to this manga in the first place.  Even though I have read all the ones that are currently out (in English) I still haven’t quite worked out what it means.

The thousand year war was started by a member of the Giou Clan (not saying who) who betrayed them to the Duras.  So I guess that’s the big betrayal, but within the story there are many other betrayals that are going on.

The Giou lie to each other, withhold information, and everyone seems to have a secret agenda.  It certainly makes a great story that keeps you guessing (despite the confusing title).

The element of the supernatural and a war between humans and demons going on in secret alongside modern day Tokyo makes for a great story in its own right, and the characters and their complex relationships carry it through.

The artwork in this manga is honestly some of the best I’ve ever seen.  It’s so beautiful and somewhat sad.  It’s like Hotaru Odagiri has taken the essence of the story and given it physical form in her drawings.  Just beautiful.  An overall superb manga in every possible way.

Other Details

My Recommendation: The official ranking on this is Older Teen.  Stick to that.  It’s not quite in the levels of the M rating (eighteen and up) but this series is definitely in the range of sixteen and up.  This manga is NOT for children.

Manga-ka (author): Hotaru Odagiri

Genre(s): fantasy, romance, shounen ai (this is a manga genre that features boys being intimate with each other in between friends and lovers) leading towards yaoi (this is the genre of boy love; I think and hope its heading this way anyway!)

Publisher (English): Yen Press

Volumes Released (in English): 6 (first five hold two volumes in one); this series is still ongoing

First Released (in English): 2011

 

 

Homicide in Hardcover: a bibliophile mystery Review

Summary homicide in hardcover

Kate Carlisle’s cozy mystery Homicide in Hardcover brings together the mysteries of murder and bookbinding.

Under the tutelage of her friend and mentor Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn Wainwright has studied the fine art of bookbinding since the age of eight.  Now a master of her craft and living in San Francisco, Brooklyn’s career is on a high note as her reputation as a highly skilled bookbinder circulates through the world of antique book collectors.

With everything going so well Brooklyn is looking forward to the Covington Library’s new exhibit, featuring her mentor’s latest book restoration.  However, the day of celebration takes a frightful turn.

No sooner has Brooklyn congratulates Abraham she finds him stabbed in one of the Covington’s workrooms.  Just before his final breath Abraham bequeaths the priceless copy of Goethe’s Faust that he still clutches to Brooklyn with a mysterious clue.

Before she even has time to process Abraham’s death she finds herself accused of his murder courtesy of annoying (and attractive) British security officer Derek Stone.  Brooklyn starts to wonder if the rumors about the Faust being cursed are true as things start to spiral out of control.  Along with being named prime suspect in her friend’s death, Brooklyn’s apartment gets ransacked, someone might be following her, and there seem to be more mysteries in Abraham’s life than just his death.

Though she much prefers finding the best ways to save a book than tracking down a murderer, she realizes it’s up to her to put the pieces of her mentor’s life together in order to clear her name and catch the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Thoughts on Homicide in Hardcover

I picked up this book for the look at bookbinding and stayed for that everything else.  This is a wonderful start to a new series that is still ongoing.  You get introduced to San Francisco, bookbinding, and Brooklyn Wainwright and her entourage.  A group of spunky characters you won’t want to say goodbye to.  Fortunately it’s a series so you don’t have to!

Kate Carlisle’s heroine Brooklyn is the guiding voice throughout the story.  Funny, talented, and constantly hungry you cheer her on as she works to catch a killer with her own personal skills that the police just don’t have.  After all if a murder circulates around a rare, priceless, supposedly cursed antique book who better to solve the case then a bookbinder?

Brooklyn has a lot on her plate though.  Aside from trying to track down a ruthless killer who seems to now be targeting in on her while being under suspicion for the murder herself, Brooklyn must face off with Derek Stone.  Both legally and personally.

As far as romance goes this was definitely one of the odder ways to start a relationship.  Being accused of murdering your friend by the guy.  Nevertheless Brooklyn can’t get her mind off him and throughout the book it’s hilarious how they keep running into each other in the most awkward of places.  They get very good at breaking and entering teamwork!

Thanks to the first person perspective, you get an inside look into Brooklyn’s emotions and thought process.  Her bookbinding, romance, and solving a murder of a friend all come into much sharper focus when you know what she’s thinking all the time.  Not to mention all her own funny thoughts!

The mystery was compelling throughout the entire story, and I kid you not I could not for the life of me figure it out.  Even when I thought I figured out who the killer was the big reveal showed me to be very  incorrect.

I guarantee you won’t see the who coming, and the why… I mean that was even more amazing.  Every tiny piece of the mystery was so well thought out, and going back after knowing the ending I could see how each detail even those that seemed insignificant at the time all fit together to form one complete and sinister picture.

I really enjoyed the use of bookbinding as the theme of this cozy.  It was well researched and let me walk away with a new knowledge of the craft and an excitement to learn more.

It’s a cozy with a learning curve as Carlisle breaks from murder with a tutorial in bookbinding basics as we observe Brooklyn work all of which is described and explained using actual bookbinding jargon.

Set against the backdrop of San Francisco, it’s a funny and thrilling ride as you follow Brooklyn as she works to solve the mystery and learn a thing or two about bookbinding along the way.  The Bibliophile Mysteries is a cozy murder mystery series that will keep you coming back for more!

Other Details

My Recommendation: This book is for adults, but really once their old enough to wander throughout all the sections of the bookstore alone kids would enjoy it too.  What better way to get teenagers interested in reading than a compelling mystery with information on how books are made, restored, and conserved?

Author: Kate Carlisle

Genre(s): mystery, cozy

Pages: 289

Publisher: Obsidian

First Released: 2009

If you want to know more about cozy murder mystery check out my post, “Why cozy murder mysteries are awesome” here:

http://thebooks.theblogpress.com/2015/04/21/why-cozy-murder-mysteries-are-awesome/

 

 

Why cozy murder mysteries are awesome

Cozy Murder Mystery cozy murder mysteries

The genre of mystery has always intrigued those with its puzzles, deduction, and looks into the human psyche to see how anyone could commit such a heinous act as murder.  Through the documented police procedural mysteries the reader gets a look at the seriousness of such a horrible crime, and often feels an amount of terror as the killer gets closer to being brought to justice.

That does make a good story, but some of us get a little freaked out by the upfront gruesome details of such a mystery or just need a break from it.  That is where the cozy murder mystery comes in.

The cozy mystery has taken on a life of its own filling the mystery section of bookstores and libraries everywhere.  It has almost become a sub-genre of mystery.

I know some people look at those little paperbacks and think they’re slightly far-fetched, I mean typically in a cozy the police officers involved in solving the murder don’t seem to be able to do it nearly as well as the average citizen.  Or that they don’t really hold a candle to a real mystery.  But I say they’re wrong! Cozy murder mysteries are awesome!

The Amateur Sleuth

Cozies are the home of the amateur sleuths, they feature a civilian as their protagonist not a police officer so if you don’t particularly like mysteries where police procedural is gone into in depth, or just need a break from it, this is the perfect read for you!

Now the basic police procedures are shown, but since the main character investigating is not a police officer they don’t go into that much depth because they don’t know it.  It makes the story very amusing to read as you watch the main character fumble around through their investigation.

Investigating Can be Funny

That brings up another point about why cozies are awesome: they are funny.  I know it’s murder, and murder is not supposed to be funny, but somehow the cozy makes it seem so.

The murder itself is not funny, but what happens after as our amateur sleuth tries to piece everything together while usually butting heads constantly with the proper authorities, is hilarious!  Cozies are mysteries and comedies all in one.

Themes

Another thing about cozies is that they always have a theme.  And there is literally a theme for whatever interest you might have.  Like gardening?  There’s a cozy for that.  Sewing?  They’ve got cozies for sewing, knitting, and crocheting (different ones).

You a book fan (probably since you’re reading this) you are totally covered.  They’ve got cozies about bookstores, bookbinding, book clubs, publishing houses, rare book researchers, and many more.

There are cozies featuring vintage clothing, food (muffins, cupcakes, chocolate, seriously this theme alone could fill an entire mystery section), antique shops, witches, antique shops with witches, libraries, animals solving crimes, magical animals solving crimes, theatre, this list goes on and on.

If I listed all the themes we could be here forever.   Just trust me browse through your local bookstore’s mystery section and you will find a cozy with a theme featuring your exact interest (there is a cozy featuring a snow-globe shop, trust me they have everything).

They’re Good

Another reason cozies are awesome is because they’re good.  They may not be hard core police procedurals with gruesome details, but they are hard core mysteries.

There are complex clues, engaging characters to sort them out, and often a twist at the end you didn’t see coming.  And they are well researched so that their facts are accurate.

The intricacies of a murder investigation may not be gone into as deep from the actual police point of view, but that doesn’t mean it’s not even looked at, or that what is put down is not accurate.  The police are just more in the background of a cozy so that the amateur sleuth can be featured.

Also, whatever theme they are using the author will have to do extensive research on that as well to make it believable.  It’s hard enough to write a convincing mystery, and cozy authors have to do that as well as write a convincing theme that ties in with the murder.  How does a chocolatier get involved in a murder anyway? (Read Kathy Aarons’s cozy Death is Like a Box of Chocolates to find out!)

Vacation Read

Cozies are also the perfect beach read.  I don’t know about you but I love reading on the beach, but it’s hard to find the right book for that kind of reading.

When you’re at the beach you’re already relaxed and reading something too dense or serious just isn’t something your brain is interested in.  But you also want to read something that is exciting and will actually keep you interested despite your brain entering catatonic beach mode.

Cozies are the perfect solution to this quandary as they are entertaining and make you think just enough with their mystery to keep you guessing, but are funny, light, and usually not too long so as to keep your beach mode brain happy.

This is true of any vacation destination not just a beach one so don’t worry if you can’t get to a beach that often!  Any vacation spot is even better with a cozy by your side.

Cozy Mania

Some cozies are actually becoming so popular that they have moved from paperbacks into hardcover (rare in the book world) which just adds evidence to my claim that the cozy murder mystery is awesome and that they are becoming their own section of mystery.

I am not saying the hard-boiled detective novels are not awesome as well, but I am saying cozies are right up there with them.  Just try one once and you’ll see.  And when you love it, and you will, you’ll be excited to know that cozies pretty much always come in series form.

Cozy murder mysteries: funny, hobby-oriented murder.  What more could you ask for?

Learn More

If you want to see a list of cozy mysteries or just want to know more there are plenty of places on the web to look here’s a site I like:

http://cozy-mysteries-unlimited.com/

Or just check out your local bookstore!

 

Snow-Walker Review

Summary snow-walker

In the land of the Jarlshold things were often cold, but ever since Gudrun, the Snow-walker, arrived from the edge of the world things have become freezing.

A soldier of Jarlshold married her after she bewitched him with her beauty, but it is her sorcery that she uses to control the people of the Jarlshold.  Before long Gudrun has convinced her new husband to steal the throne away from the rightful ruler and become the Jarl himself.  But it is Gudrun who has power here. The people of the Jarlshold live in fear.  Gudrun seems to have no weaknesses…or does she?

A young girl named Jessa and her cousin Thorkil are banished by Gudrun after their fathers are killed in an attempt to put the rightful ruler back on the throne. They are sent to Thrasirhall a ruin in the very far north where it is said another was banished years ago.  Gudrun’s son Kari.  Not much is known about Gudrun’s son, but many speak of him in whispers.  Is he like his mother?  Is he truly a monster?

Jessa and Thorkil had no choice but to find out, but when they arrive at Thrasirhall a surprise awaits them.  Kari turns out to be different than anyone thought.  With time running out for the Jarlshold and Gudrun closing in Jessa must rely on someone she never imagined to help save her home.  Kari is far more important than anyone thought he was.  In fact he may be the key to saving the Jarlshold from the Snow-walker.

Thoughts on Snow-Walker

So here’s the thing when I first got this book I didn’t realize that it was actually an omnibus version of a three book series.  I still didn’t realize that the list on the contents page, The Snow-walker’s Son, The Empty Hand, and The Soul Thieves, were not just the parts of the book until I started reading.

You can purchase all three books of the Snow-walker series separately, but I did not.  Since I read them together I am going to review them together.

I loved this book.  I just had to start there.  It drew me in from the very beginning, and I just had to keep reading.  I finished reading The Snow-walker’s Son in one sitting and then started right in on the next one.

Personally I was glad I had the entire series in one book.  Sometimes omnibus editions don’t work out, but this story slipped seamlessly from one book to the next.

Even though the book jacket’s summary only pertains in specifics to the first book, the overall theme of our heroes fighting Gudrun continues throughout the entire three volume set.  As you’ll see, even though they get her out of the Jarlshold Gudrun is not one to disappear quietly into the night.

It’s a fantasy story of a grand adventure across a frozen land, spanning several years over the entire volume.  The fantasy elements are used well and actually make sense.

A land full of snow white people with incredible powers who live in a land so far north that people in the Jarlshold believe it to be the edge of the world is the main source of magic in the story as it is Gudrun’s birthplace.

The overall setting of the Jarlshold struck me as a Viking empire (which is awesome!) in a time when Vikings would have been in control of the world (their world anyway).  Basically for this story think Vikings in an alternate reality where magic and all their supernatural beliefs are real.

I must say though I did love the many unique (sometimes quirky) characters, Thorkil and I never really hit it off.  Which turned out to be a good thing as even though he plays a slightly big part in the first book, he is literally never seen again (except very briefly in a dream).

The other merry band of rebels supporting the rightful Jarl continue to go on adventures to save the Jarlshold from Gudrun as getting her out of the seat of power was only the beginning.

I love Kari!  Really I cannot say that enough.  Watching him grow and get out of Thrasirhall is amazing.  When he’s learning to control his powers and then gets scared that he is actually just like his mother I just wanted to hug him.

His relationship with Brochael is so sweet and protective.  You can tell a strong father-son like bond exists between the two.

Jessa was a fierce heroine, and certainly not the type of girl to sit at home.  She was the first person (besides Brochael) to accept Kari and help him (for which I love her).

It is a good thing Jessa is  such a brave and loyal friend because Kari needed as many of those as he could get.  When your mother is basically the embodiment of all evil and you are the only one who can stop her, help from friends is very welcome.

From getting Gudrun unseated from power at the Jarlshold, fighting off a monster made of her magic, and finally traveling to the land of Gudrun’s birth for a final confrontation Snow-walker is an adventure you will feel a part of and never want to end.

Other Details

My Recommendation: This book can be found in the young adult section and while I do feel parts of it might be too scary for young children, by middle school age it should be fine.  And of course it’s a great read even for people slightly older than middle school age.  You know like ages twelve to one hundred.

Author: Catherine Fisher

Genre(s): fantasy, adventure

Pages: 507 (in omnibus edition)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (in US)

First Released: 2004 (in US)

 

Why it’s ok to grieve for the loss of a character in a book

Character Death and Grieving sherlock holmes dead

I see it all the time in myself and in others who really love the books their reading.  A favorite character of yours dies and you grieve, and then people judge you in some way because in their words, “it’s just a book.”

Now if the book is non-fiction and someone dies then people may be more accepting of your grief but eventually they say something along the lines of, “well it’s sad but you didn’t know them.”

The thing that these people don’t get is that you did know them.  And the fictional characters you knew them too.  The book opened up their lives and stories to you, and there you got to know them.  Whether they are real or not when a character you love dies it’s a very sad experience, and as with any loss it’s ok to grieve.

Now I’m not saying you should wallow in your room for weeks on end, but it’s ok to feel a sense of loss when a character dies.  Who cares if they were in a book that was fictional?  During the time you spent with them while reading they were as real as anything.  They are for me anyway.  I’m still upset that (SPOILER) Fred died in the last Harry Potter book!

Characters Come to Life

When you read a book the author draws you into their world, into the lives of the characters.  Their job is to make you fall in love with their characters.  To care about their lives and what happens to them.

If you are not emotionally invested in the characters on the page than what’s the point?  If you start reading a book and half way through you still don’t care one way or the other what happens to the characters why keep reading it?

The plot and setting are important parts of a story, but it’s the characters that bring the story to life.  That give those places and times meaning.  If the characters are bland and boring and people you wouldn’t even look twice at the book falls apart at the seams (pardon the pun).  If the author has not written a story with characters that you can be emotionally invested in then they’ve failed at their job.

Most authors do not fail at their job so of course you feel emotionally invested in the lives of these characters.  You celebrate their joy with them.  You feel their sadness when they are hurt.  You yell at them, “No you’re not supposed to be with him you’re supposed to be with the other guy!” when they make a fumble in romance.  You shake your head at them when they do something stupid.

With all these emotions that you feel for them they become real people to you. Why wouldn’t you feel a sense of loss and grieve when the characters that have become real for you die?

My books have always been very special to me.  They were some of my closest friends growing up and still are now.  The characters in them became people I cared about, and really I never saw anything wrong with that.  I still don’t.

Yes I know they’re not real, that’s really not the point.  When I had a bad day it was nice to open a book and escape into a world nothing like my own reality for a little while.  And the characters in them invited me into their lives and took me on their adventures.

Even when I wasn’t having a bad day it was fun to do that.  That’s what books are for.  To take you out of yourself for a little while.  To join a band of characters that at least during your time between the covers are as real as you are.

So for anyone who still feels embarrassed that they feel grief over the death of a character, don’t.  It’s perfectly natural to feel that loss.  For anyone who tells you “it’s just a book” know that they are not a true book lover like you.

Why it Really is Ok

If you still feel awkward about it here’s something to ease your mind:

Back when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was writing his Sherlock Holmes stories he got tired of writing about Holmes so he decided to do what a lot of authors do when they get bored with a character: he killed him off.  The response to that was immediate and surprising.

Apparently Sherlock Holmes had become so popular and so much a part of people’s lives in London that when news of his death came in people were so grief-stricken they mourned him literally.  All over London people hung black wreaths on their doors (a symbol for mourning), they dressed in black, a memorial service was held and a lot of people actually showed up!

They behaved as if the character Sherlock Holmes was a real guy, and quite a few people thought he was.  There is an actual 221B Baker Street address in London. The real residents who lived their got condolence cards.

The mourning and outrage was so absolute that Doyle brought Holmes back to life.  Now the real residents of 221B Baker Street went back to their normal letters: job offers for Mr. Holmes.

There was a pole done in recent years that asked young people of today if they thought Sherlock Holmes was a real person.  Eighty percent of them said yes he was.  I tell you this so that you can take comfort in the fact that no matter how much you grieve for a characters’ death you will never be the craziest person out there.

So long as you stay away from sending condolence cards to a fictional character’s address, mourning the loss of a beloved character is normal and perfectly acceptable.  You loved them, now their gone, and you’re sad.  It’s that simple.

Wellington Square Bookshop

Welcome to Wellington! wellington

Located at 549 Wellington Square in Exton Pennsylvania, the Wellington Square Bookshop contains within its walls books for every taste imaginable.  Right from your first step in the door a cozy atmosphere welcomes you bringing to mind bookstores of old.

With its smell of wood coming from the carefully carved shelves and its wheelie ladders placed around the store reaching up to the higher shelves it brought to mind a bookstore found in fairy tales.  A place where some magical secret lies hidden in the stacks.

Books rare, new, and more…

There is a well stocked children’s and teens’ section off to the right as you walk in the front door where some of the newest releases are dispersed with old favorites.

Following the signs to the back of the store you find the adult book section broken up into more categories than you can imagine.  The books are broken up into sections reminiscent of an old library even having numbers next to the section title.  920’s are Biography for example.  There is also Drama, Poetry, History, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, and many more categories to explore and browse.

Even more interesting are this bookstore’s special secrets.  They specialize in rare books and signed first editions.  A glass case greets you as you walk through the door showcasing some of the oldest books in their collection some of which date back to the early 1900’s.

Signed first edition books can be found throughout the store.  Along with the rare and new a browser can come across many older titles that may be a bit harder to find in other bookstores.

Aside from the great selection of books the Wellington Square Bookshop also houses many decorative items and unique gifts any book lover would adore. Numerous wooden and marble bookends crafted into many fantastic shapes line the store.  I’ve personally got my eye on a pair of marble book ends shaped like unicorns, but there are so many it’s hard to decide!

If all this wasn’t enough they also have a very modern cafe where you can get any number of tea and coffee drinks along with a huge selection of delectable sweets that would make anyone give up their plans for a diet!

This bookstore was started in 2006, and in 2014 was named the winner of the Philly Hot List for best bookstore in the Philadelphia Area.  It has become a great place to shop, snack, and talk books with fellow book lovers in the community.

Their staff are friendly and helpful and clearly brim with excitement over books. They are there to help you find what you’re looking for among the stacks if you know, and are more than willing to make recommendations if you just can’t figure out the right book to get.

Book Clubs and Other Fun Things

The bookshop supports many on going activities and clubs.  I can personally say that their adult book club is enjoyable and really makes you think outside your proverbial box and read things you would honestly probably pass over.

It really can be a laugh riot when you get going, and there are always plenty of treats on hand!  Not only that but authors have been known to drop by the book club and discuss with us the book we just read and they wrote.  After reading the Unremarried Widow, the author Artis Henderson popped into book club via Skype.  How many book clubs do that?

Wellington also has a young adult book club for teens, as well as writing groups, author signings, and numerous other special events for adults and children.

If you’re lucky you might even stop by on a day when new ARC’s (Avid Reader Copies) come in.  These are books that have not been officially released in stores yet by the publisher, and are given to certain places in advance.  Since these books are not officially for sale yet you can get them for free!  If you get lucky you just might find something.

So if you are in the area stop in and have a look around, and if you’re just passing through stop in anyway.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Once you come in you’ll never be able to get enough.

At Wellington Square Bookshop you come for the glorious selection of rare, used, and new books and stay for the friendly cozy atmosphere and helpful and enthusiastic staff.  Not to mention the goodies at the cafe!

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about Wellington Square Bookshop check out their website:

http://wellingtonsquarebooks.com/

 

Iceland Review

Summary iceland

In Betsy Tobin’s sweeping saga the ancient world of Iceland comes to life as myth meets reality, the bonds of family are tested by forbidden love, and gods come to earth as Iceland’s legendary volcano is about to blow.

The year is 1000 A.D. and Iceland is still a land with ancient traditions dating to the Vikings with rituals and beliefs that clash with those of the encroaching missionaries of Christianity.

Freya, a goddess of Asgard, has come to Earth in search of a necklace that may aid her in altering the course of history from the disaster she has heard prophesied.  She finds it in the land of the underground world of dwarfs where to obtain it she will have to make a deal with the four brothers who crafted it.

Meanwhile a young girl named Fulla is promised to man she hardly knows only to realize she is in love with a young man from a farm that neighbors her family’s.  A family that has been in a feud with her family for generations.

The bonds of love and faith are tested as the magic of the gods runs throughout Iceland as a clash between the ancient beliefs and Christianity grows closer.  A clash that could uproot all the ways of the Icelandic people, that is if the ever looming danger of the volcano does not uproot it first.

Thoughts on Iceland

When I first picked up this book I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I just knew that I had a fascination with Iceland and a story that takes place back in the year 1000 always sounds good.  I am so glad that I found this book.  From its majestic view of Iceland to its look at the people of this land on the midst of a religious revolution with a little godly influence thrown in this book is one wild ride.

The overall story of Freya is actually based on a real myth from Iceland about how the goddess Freya met up with four dwarf brothers to broker a deal for their golden necklace.   Betsy Tobin’s tale adds more danger and magic to this myth which made for an exciting and crazy adventure for all the characters.  As whenever gods get involved in human affairs things are sure to get turned upside down.

Romance also is a big factor in this novel.  Fulla and Vili are basically the Icelandic Romeo and Juliet as they fight to be together despite their families’ feuding history.  The other great romance in this novel is that between Freya and Dvalin, one of the dwarf brothers who crafted the necklace. Honestly I enjoyed their relationship more than Fulla and Vili’s.  Neither one of them could stand the other at first and yet they couldn’t stop talking to each other.  It was funny and sweet seeing them play hard ball with each other but with an underlying tenderness.

The stories of Freya, Dvalin, Fulla, and Vili all intertwine throughout the novel. All come to a head when the final push for Christianity to take over Iceland is made and the disaster Freya was warned of sweeps across the land as the sleeping volcano awakes.

Other Details

My Recommendation: I would say this book is definitely for teens and up.  Personally I read it in college and was enthralled, so even if you’re past the teenage years this is still a book that would be well enjoyed.  I would say this is probably not a book for young children though.  Wait until they’re a little older before showing them this.

Author: Betsy Tobin

Genre(s): Fantasy, romance

Pages: 354

Publisher: Plume, The Penguin Group

First Released: September, 2009 (in US)