Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review | The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride is a fantasy novel by William Goldman.

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad's recitation, and only the "good parts" reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He's reconstructed the "Good Parts Version" to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it's about everything.


I will say right away I’m a huge fan of the movie, but this fact almost kept me from reading the book at all. I’m a fearful reader at times. I’m afraid to reread a beloved book and have my opinion change. I’m afraid to read a book if I really loved the movie for fear I will see the movie differently. I’m afraid to read The Neverending Story and find out what Bastian’s mother’s name is because all of my life I’ve tried to figure out what on earth that kid has been screaming out of that window and the mystery is now part of my DNA. (Please don’t spoil it for me, either.)

This past week, however, something finally possessed me to read The Princess Bride. It’s one of the best reading decisions I have ever made.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a phenomenal book. It’s the story of William Goldman writing an abridged version (the version his father would recite to him as a child) of S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride. There are so many layers to this book, and I was really blown away by the whole thing.

There are subtle differences between the book and the movie. William Goldman is no Fred Savage and his dad is not at all like Grandpa. Like any movie adaptation, there are many things left out entirely so my heart is now overflowing with a greater knowledge and understanding. I now know how Domingo Montoya, father to Inigo Montoya, died. I now know why Miracle Max wants Prince Humperdinck’s ultimate suffering. I now understand Prince Humperdinck is a much bigger dick than I previously thought.

And THE FEELS. My God, the feels. And it’s not just the love and the friendship and the suffering, it’s how well this book captures the emotions a reader goes through when reading a story like The Princess Bride. I had serious emotions about the emotions. It’s all very meta, and did I mention brilliant?

If you are already a fan of the movie, you really owe it to yourself to read the book. Regardless of whether you’ve seen the movie or not, The Princess Bride is a fantasy classic I highly, highly recommend you read.

This is the part where you, my friends, say “As you wish”.

10/10: Awesome Read

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On My Wishlist {11}

A great mix of books ended up on my wishlist over the last couple of weeks. These are the books that caught my eye:

Slowly We Rot by Bryan Smith
Slowly We Rot by Bryan Smith

A novel of the zombie apocalypse that's NOT about the zombies. Long after a plague that wiped out most of the human race, a young man named Noah resides in a remote mountain cabin. Several years have passed since he last saw another human being. The long period of isolation and loneliness has fostered a deep despair in Noah, who also struggles with suicidal impulses. But Noah is a man who was struggling even before the end of the world, a seemingly helpless slave to his addictions. When the vindictive sister he has long believed dead unexpectedly returns, events transpire that prompt him to leave his mountain refuge and embark on a cross-country trek to find the lost love of his life. It doesn't matter that she’s probably long dead. He just needs a purpose again and this is it. Along the way, he experiences moments of hope and profound tragedy. Soon Noah’s sanity begins to fray and his ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality starts to disintegrate. Through it all, he keeps trying to reach the one he lost long ago. And he’ll continue no matter what, even if it costs him his life, because it’s a big, empty world and this is all he has.

Zombehs. Kind of.

The Waking That Kills by Stephen Gregory
The Waking That Kills by Stephen Gregory

A dark novel of Possession. The ghosts that haunt us are not always strangers. Lawrence Lundy's military-pilot father is missing, and the boy is doing everything he can to keep his presence alive in the family home. Into this strange house comes Christopher Beale, a man just returned to the country who becomes drawn in to the apparent madness of the Lawrence and his mother.

A long, hot summer's dream. A suffocating nightmare. Shattered by a violent awakening! When his elderly father suffers a stroke, Christopher Beale returns to England. He has no home, no other family. Adrift, he answers an advert for a live-in tutor for a teenage boy. The boy is Lawrence Lundy, who possesses the spirit of his father, a military pilot – missing, presumed dead. Unable to accept that his father is gone, Lawrence keeps his presence alive, in the big old house, in the overgrown garden. His mother, Juliet Lundy, a fey, scatty widow living on her nerves, keeps the boy at home, away from other children, away from the world. And in the suffocating heat of a long summer, she too is infected by the madness of her son. Christopher Beale becomes entangled in the strange household... enmeshed in the oddness of the boy and his fragile mother. Only by forcing the boy to release the spirit of his father can there be any escape from the haunting.

I am a slave to great reviews.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

A new YA novel from novelist Patrick Ness, author of the Carnegie Medal- and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning A Monster Calls and the critically acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a bold and irreverent novel that powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

What if you aren't the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Well, it's Patrick Ness. I didn't even read what it's about.

He Who Walks in Shadow by Brett J. Talley
He Who Walks in Shadow by Brett J. Talley

The Incendium Maleficarum has been lost and Carter Weston presumed dead, but the story of That Which Should Not Be is only just beginning. Now Carter’s only daughter, Rachel Jones, and his oldest friend, Henry Armitage, must embark on an epic journey that will take them from the hell-blasted Tunguska forest to the catacombs of Paris to the shores of the Scottish Isles.

They are in a race against time, for in France, strange murders and whispers of occult rituals herald the rise of an ancient evil bent on plunging the world into eternal darkness.

It is up to Rachel and Henry to learn Carter’s fate, recover the Incendium Maleficarum, and perhaps even save the world.

I need to read That Which Should Not Be first, but this is not new information.

Omega City (Omega City #1) by Diana Peterfreund
Omega City (Omega City #1) by Diana Peterfreund

The first middle grade novel in an exciting new series from acclaimed author Diana Peterfreund, perfect for fans of The Goonies and The City of Ember.

Gillian Seagret doesn't listen to people who say her father's a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War–era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced them to move to the middle of nowhere, but Gillian knows he's right and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg's diary in her father's mess of an office, she thinks she's found a big piece of the puzzle—a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg's greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off on a journey into the ruins of Omega City, a vast doomsday bunker deep inside the earth,.

But they aren't alone inside its dark and flooded halls. For while Gillian wants to save her dad's reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg's secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried . . . forever.

Ooh, that sounds good. How can I not read something "for fans of The Goonies"? That's only the single greatest movie ever made. Feel free to judge me on that.

Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? What books have recently made it onto your wishlist?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review | Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner

Losing Faith is a legal thriller by Adam Mitzner.

From the acclaimed author Publishers Weekly called “a gifted writer” comes this nail-biting legal thriller in the bestselling tradition of John Grisham and Scott Turow.

Aaron Littmann, the chairman of one of the country’s most prestigious law firms, has just been contacted by a high-profile defense attorney, whose client is Nikolai Garkov, a Russian businessman arraigned on terrorism charges for pulling the financial strings behind recent treasonous acts. The attorney informs Aaron that Garkov is looking to switch representation and will pay one hundred thousand dollars just to take the meeting. But Aaron doesn’t have any choice, as Garkov is ready to go public with the damning evidence that Aaron and the judge in the high-profile case—Faith Nichols—had a torrid affair during another recent case.

Filled with suspense, twists, and turns, Losing Faith will captivate legal thriller fans everywhere.

This may not be readily apparent given the books that are typically on my reading list, but I love legal thrillers. Love them. They are the logic puzzles of the literary world, and the legal system provides a set of rules by which everyone must abide. I love trying to figure out how the characters are going to pull off their case within the confines of the law.

And then there’s Losing Faith. Law shmaw.

Losing Faith started out really great. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good legal thriller so I was fully invested in the book. There was a lot of detail given on legal procedure, which I happen to enjoy. Your mileage may vary. There was also an unexpected twist that really set up the plot and took the book in a great direction.

This is where I get spoilerish on why I hate this book.

I was enjoying the proceedings up until the defense decided to base their entire case on perjury. Perjury from the wife, perjury from friends, perjury from the defendant. I think my blood actually began to boil. It’s lazy, illogical, and just plain anti-what-legal-thrillers-are-all-about.

Losing Faith was a complete disaster after that point.

I see the potential in Adam Mitzner’s writing so I plan to pick up another one of his books. As for Losing Faith, it was totally not my thing.

4/10: Not My Thing

Review copy provided by publisher

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Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27 | Currently Reading

Last week I posted my review of When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord.

This was a pretty awesome reading week. I finally read The Princess Bride which I will be posting my thoughts on soon.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner

Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn
Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

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