Book Review: The Vagrant

Book Title: The Vagrant
Author: Peter Newman

“In answer, the Vagrant raises his blade. At its hilt, silvered wings unfurl.
An eye opens.”

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

Final Verdict: An amazing and complex journey with amazing characters that I am already planning to re-read!

For the full review, click the name of the book.


Random News: Browncoat Friday

Hello Lovely Readers,

Ever since I watched the movie Serenity and made a friend because of it, who then introduced me to the wonders that were Firefly, I have been a Browncoat! Surprisingly, no matter where I went, I would eventually find the other Browncoats, and usually I was already friends with them. So it has become a bit like returning home for me to watch the series or the movie, as it reminds me of all my friends. For those that have no clue what a Browncoat is, a Browncoat is a fan of series Firefly (and/or the movie based on the series, Serenity). So since I was craving something shiny today, I thought I would share some fun finds for the other Browncoats out there!

First find is 21 Times You Found Serenity. This is mostly a list of how awesome Captain Malcolm Reynolds is, which is fun! For those who aren’t Browncoats yet, Serenity is the name of a battle that Captain Mal and his firstmate, Zoe fought in, and lost. The ship and the movie are named after this battle. But even more, it is a line in the theme song of the tv series, and you can listen to it at the bottom of this post.

The second find is 27 Signs You’re A Browncoat, and it is great. There is a much wider range of characters and events. It was very nice reminder for me of the whole series! It is so hard to pick a favorite one, but I do love Shepard Book, who is the one aiming for the kneecaps! ^_^

Lastly is a quiz to figure out Which Firefly Character You Are. I was excited to get Captain Mal, Mr. Captain-Tight-Pants himself. He is not the typical hero, but he is someone you can relate to, and his crew love him (in their own ways).

Since I was feeling nostalgic, and I love this song (it was the first one I taught myself when I tried to learn guitar). Here is the theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity,” from the series, Firefly. Also below is a video that I watched while working on this post, and I just couldn’t leave it out. So watch for some of the best quotes from the series and movie (my housemate who has never seen the show was laughing out loud as he heard some of these!)

So how many of you are Browncoats? Will any of you who haven’t seen the series watch it? I think I know what I am relaxing with this weekend, and in the words of Captain Mal, “I aim to misbehave!”

Until next time,

Book Review: Swords, Sorcery, & Sundry

Book Title: Swords, Sorcery, & Sundry
Author: Mina MacLeod

“Sylvain watches Niklas reveal the pastries, watches how Ashe leans back and doesn’t mind in the least. They’ve met such a short time ago, and yet here they are: the very best and closest of friends. Walls are dropped, boundaries are gone…Sylvain doesn’t want this to end. The prospect of leaving these two makes his heart twist painfully.”
Swords, Sorcery, & Sundry by Mina MacLeod

Final Verdict: A fun read for summer travels, which breaks many of the overused conventions in YA novels, and reminds you what good friends are! An added bonus is that it is just the start of a series.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Book Review: Into the Land of the Unicorns

Book Title: Into the Land of the Unicorns
Author: Bruce Coville

“There’s lots of kinds of chains. You can’t see most of them, the one’s that bind folks together. But people build them, link by link. Sometimes the links are weak, snap like this one did. That’s another funny thing, now that I think of it. Sometimes when you mend a chain, the place where you fix it is strongest of all.”
Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville

Final Verdict:A great story for kids, with a strong little girl, some amazing creatures, and a great adventure.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Movie Title: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director: Peter Jackson

Notable Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, and Evangeline Lilly

“Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of your enormity, O Smaug the Stupendous…”
Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Final Verdict: A really great, epic movie, even though not too much actually happens. It leaves you wishing it was next year already so you can see how the story ends!

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.

**Additionally, at the bottom of the review, there is a link to a hidden page where we discuss our thoughts about the ending for those of you who have already seen the movie and aren’t concerned about spoilers**

Movie Review: The Hobbit (1977)

In honor of Hobbit Day yesterday (22 September), we present this look back at the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit!

Movie Title: The Hobbit (1977)
Director: Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.

“I’m Mr. Bilbo Baggins, I’ve lost my dwarves, my wizard and my way.”
Bilbo in The Hobbit

Final Verdict: A great introduction to Middle Earth for all the little Hobbits and those who are little Hobbits at heart. Or just have short attention spans!

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.

Random News: The Princess Bride

Hello Sweeties,

One of my all time favorite movies is The Princess Bride. Last year it celebrated its 25th anniversary, and I realized that the movie is older than me. Back home everyone I knew had seen The Princess Bride at least once in their lives, yet when I came over to England I found that not only had some people never seen the movie, some have never even heard of the movie (my students mostly). I have since rectified some of these problems, but it is still shocking to me. For those who are unfamiliar, or those that just want to remember the movie, the reailer is below.

So I was excited to see several articles on The Princess Bride recently, and I thought I would share them with you. The first is a really fun look at 10 interesting facts most people don’t know about the movie. You can find it here. My favorite is that Robin Wright was set on fire on her first day of filming!

The second article is much more thought provoking and focuses on the book that he film was based on. I have not read the book, but I would like to one day. However, the article discusses how the novel has two parts to it, the story of adventure and the “abridger” and his more cynical thoughts. Yet together these work to make an interesting dichotomy, that ends with the cynic still leaving hope that true love exists. You can find the article here.

So what about you guys, do you love the movie? Have you read the novel?

Until next time,

Movie Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Movie

Movie Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Director: Garth Jennings
Notable Stars: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman (voice only), Stephen Fry (voice only)

In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move.
The Book from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Final Verdict: An enjoyable film, that as long as you do not overly scrutinize provides a nice break.

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.

Random News: Listen to the Graveyard Book

Hello Sweeties,

One of the books that really surprised me recently was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. While Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, I was not so sure about this story, but I was able to get a hold of an audiobook (read by the author himself) and gave it a listen. I really enjoyed it, and am currently working on my review of it for you guys. However, in the meantime you can give it a listen! That’s right, currently it is available for free online. Over at Neil Gaiman’s MouseCircus you can listen to Neil read the story. If you have never heard Gaiman read one of his own books you are in for a treat. Not only is he a great author, but he is excellent at bringing the story to life. Just a quick summary for those who are unsure. The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody. As a toddler, something happens to Nobody’s parents, and having just learned to walk he wanders into the graveyard. There the Owens, with the help of the mysterious Silas, agree to raise the boy as their son. The story follows Nobody as he grows up and learns from all the people buried in the graveyard. However, outside the graveyard, the evil that killed his family is still looking for him.

I really hope you give this book a try, especially as you can’t argue with the price! A full review will be coming here soon. And in case you need one more reason to listen, The Graveyard Book will soon be turned into a movie!

Until next time,

Book Review: Doctor Who Series 1: Winter’s Dawn, Season’s End

Book Title: Doctor Who Series 1
Writer: Tony Lee
Matthew Dow Smith, Al Davison, Blair Shedd, and Kelly Yates

“I reeeeally wouldn’t touch it if I were you. You see, your Nazi mythology got it wrong-along with everything else.”
The Doctor in Doctor Who Series 1: Winter’s Dawn, Season’s End by Tony Lee

Final Verdict: A fun short read for the Doctor Who fans, but a bit inaccessible for a casual reader.

For the full review, click the book title.