Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I have seen this book everywhere. Wal-Mart, the Library (of course), blog world, pinterest, Target…everywhere. So I borrowed it from a friend – I’m pretty sure she’ll never loan me a book again – upon returning her paperback it looked like it’d been in Oscar the Grouch’s trashcan for the better part of a month (it was only in my care for 2 weeks).

Here’s the synopsis (from Ransom Riggs’s website):

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Again this was a junior fiction – if not it really really felt like it. I was quickly reminded of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants which also uses antique photographs to supplement, if not carry, the plot along.  Riggs’s story was interesting. This was a fantastical journey that included time travel and stretched my imagination. Fantasy isn’t usually my ‘thing’ but this book actually captivated my attention and kept it beginning to end. I’d say go for it, especially during Scare Month!

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Picture Perfect

Another book? IIII KNOW, Right?! I ripped through several books from May-August (several by my standards anyway) just a few more for you and then you’ll be caught up on my latest readings.

Here’s the synopsis (from Jodi Picoult’s website):

As Picture Perfect begins, it is daybreak in downtown L.A. A woman suffering from amnesia is taken in by an officer new to the L.A. police force, after he finds her wandering aimlessly near a graveyard. Days later, when her husband comes to claim her at the police station, no one is more stunned than Cassie Barrett to learn that not only is she a renowned anthropologist, but she is married to Hollywood’s leading man, Alex Rivers.

As Alex helps Cassie become reaccustomed to her fairy-tale existence, fragments of memory return: the whirlwind romance on location in Africa, her major anthropological discovery, the trajectory of Alex’s career. Yet as Cassie settles into her glamour-filled life, uneasiness nags at her. She senses there is something troubling and wild that would alter the picture of her perfect marriage. When she finds a positive pregnancy test in her bathroom, she is flooded with dark memories. Trying to piece together her past, she runs to the other person she trusts to keep her hidden– Will Flying Horse, the policeman who had initially harbored her.

I can’t say this is my favorite of hers or even in the top 3. It was more like one of those made-for-TV movies you let run in the background while doing housework. I didn’t find it captivating or noteworthy; it was just a decent read.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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The Fault in Our Stars

I this is my first John Green novel. I’ll fess up, I read it because the movie is coming out soon and well…I have a hard time watching the movie before I read the book. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course it’s junior fiction but, who cares?

Here’s the synopsis (from here):

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

It made me hug my spouse and wax nostalgic for the days when we first met – those long phone conversations, reading the same books, listening to each other’s music, just learning & discovering who the other person was. It’s a beautiful and unique tale of love, allowing yourself to be wooed – not just by another person but life itself.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette

This book popped up in my Goodreads suggestion after my obsession with all stories/books Gillian Flynn left me with a giant gaping hole (and a lighter purse).  Rightfully so, it’s was along the same lines: female leads, a mysterious-ish plot, character development that leaves you thinking you could meet the main characters at the local Wal-Greens.

Unlike Ms. Flynn’s books this was much less gruesome and more lighthearted.  I chuckled out loud quite a bit – as in I had a hard time reading it in public. Because it was so interesting and fresh I neglected all housework and all other responsibilities until I finished. I think it was a 3 day read for me – that’s gotta be a Jessica record!  On to the book.

Synopsis from here (how hilarious is that doll?!?!):

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a daughter’s unflinching love for her imperfect mother.

Maria Semple’s Bernadette Fox is a RIOT! to be honest, in my imagination she looks a lot like Jake’s Godmother… :) I’d say if you’re looking for something humerus and different from the normal beach book or summer read, please pick it up!

 

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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A Long Way Down

How can I describe Nick Hornby’s writing style? ummm…take that oddball friend in your social circle, the one with the weird and slightly dark sense of humor, add a whole lot of sarcasm, mix this with that guy who always makes terrible moments laughable and throw waaay too much pop-culture knowledge…now you’ve got a pretty good description.  That’s how I see and read Hornby.

Here’s the synopsis (from here):

Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year’s Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.

I liked this book. It was a ‘light’ read; surprisingly kept my mood light, given the topic that’s quite a feat. I’d say if you’re not easily offended and looking for a chuckle or two while looking at the depth of friendship, loneliness, and life as a whole pick it up.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Maleficent

I nearly had a coronary when I learned Disney was making my favorite villan ‘real’. Maleficent was insanely spooky and beautifully terrifying to me as a child. Never-the-less Sleeping Beauty has been my absolute favorite of the animated Disney movies partly because of her.  Jake watched the trailer a couple dozen times for me. So when we went to see it in the theater I was beyond stoked!

In an unforgiving mood after a neighboring kingdom threatens her forest, Maleficent places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. But as the child grows, Maleficent finds herself becoming fond of the girl. And as the conflict between the two realms intensifies, Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land.

(synopsis from here)

The story unfolded beautifully with supreme special effects and a stunning performance by Angelina Jolie. If you haven’t seen it we’d highly recommend you do!

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Brass Teapot

Netflix strikes again. Several weeks ago we finally watched a movie in our queue. Do you do that too? drop a movie in your queue and never really watch those which you sat aside. Needlessly spending hours surfing through different categories only to return to the queue or settle on a favorite TV show?  Um…we do!  So it’s always a big event when we Rate and “Remove From Queue” (at least I make it a big event).

We’ve had The Brass Teapot in our ‘to be watched’ files for a while now. The other night we finally decided to give it a go. I was so happy we did; I liked it, Jake however thought the acting was a little ‘amateur’. We both agreed the script was fairly honest and funny. This is a quirky take on “be careful what you wish for”. Some parts made me look at Mr. Awesomesauce and say “Yup!”.

 John and Alice live in small-town America – married, very much in love, and broke.  But an accident leads them to a roadside antique shop where Alice is spontaneously drawn to a mysterious brass teapot.  It isn’t long before they realize that this is no ordinary teapot and that perhaps they have found the answer to all of their financial woes.  John and Alice must decide how far they will go to fulfill their dreams of wealth.

(synopsis from here)

 

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LUCY

If you haven’t noticed this week we’re recapping movies we’ve watched since the last time we gave you a review. It just so happens that last weekend we were gifted with a pair of movie tickets and used them to see Lucy.

An action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

(found here)

We loved it. The movie was a wonderful blend of action and intellect. It was a good movie to see it on the big-screen with the mega surround sound.

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Nature Calls

Once again we found ourselves surfing Netflix and this time Jake picked Nature Calls.

Polar-opposite brothers Randy and Kirk never saw eye-to-eye, but their rivalry is taken to a new level when Randy hijacks Kirk’s son’s sleepover, taking the boys on a Scout Trip to remember.

(from here.)

The familiar faces: Johnny Knoxville, Patton Oswalt, and Maura Tierney (oh you know her; the amazing nurse from E.R.). It wasn’t really a movie we’d suggest running out to rent or buy. However, if you’re looking for something to forget your day or week that makes you laugh, go ahead add it to your queue!

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Tammy

Every so often our fates are crossed with free movie tickets. Even more rare they’re tickets for a screening of a movie. I absolutely love when this happens.  It’s only happened to me three times but man I love it! Something about seeing a movie before 95% of the population does is thrilling. On July 1st we received tickets to the screening of Tammy.

Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) is having a bad day.  She’s totaled her car, gotten fired from her thankless job at a greasy burger joint, and instead of finding comfort at home, find her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor in her own house.

It’s time to take her boom box and book it.  The bad news is she’s broke and without wheels.  The worse new is her grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), is her only option – with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls.  Not exactly the escape Tammy had in mind.  But on the road, with Pearl riding shotgun, it may be just what Tammy needs.

(synopsis from here)

To be honest I had no idea about this movie, we’d not seen trailers or even heard of it until we had the free passes. We laughed pretty hard during a  few parts. Overall I remember saying “Those are NOT Susan Sarandon’s cankles. No. WAY.” and we walked away feeling a little…sad.

Have you seen Tammy, what was your take?

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