Stardust by Neil Gaiman Books-to-Movie Intro

Stardust was the brain child of Neil Gaiman and he enlisted artist Charles Vess to do the illustrations for the initial 1997 DC Comic release, which was a four-part mini series.  In 1998 a hardcover and trade paperback were published that included  175 illustrations from the original comic book.  Gaiman retained the rights to the novel and in 1999 a conventional novel was published by Avon without illustrations. To coincide with the release of the movie a 2007 issue was released with an additional 50 illustrations by Charles Vess as well a new cover art.

From Neil Gaiman’s website:

In the tranquil fields and meadows of long-ago England, there is a small hamlet that has stood on a jut of granite for 600 years. Just to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here, in the hamlet of Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. And here, one crisp October eve, Tristran makes his love a promise — an impetuous vow that will send him through the only breach in the wall, across the pasture… and into the most exhilarating adventure of his life.

We will be watching the 2007 film version starring Claire Danes, Robert DiNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ian McKellan as the narrator.

Some things to think about as you read and watch:

How does the Pirate Captain get his name?

The connection of the witch’s magic to her image?

If you are reading on illustrated version, how does the visual setting in the  movie compare to the book?

A fantasy novel into a fantasy movie, does it work? Why or why not?

So pull up a book, a bucket of popcorn, and let the fun begin!

The Importance of Being Earnest Books-to-Movie Report

I realize I am a little late in posting this but my life has been a little crazy of late with school.  Now on to the fun stuff! Did you watch the movie? Read the play? What did you think? Now remember we are discussing the 2002 film version of the play. Let’s discuss some of the questions I posted in the intro.

*What is the significance of the difference of the city and the country?

In most Victorian literature (and even earlier than that) there is usually an innocence associated with the country and a certain depravity associated with the city but Wilde doesn’t conform to this traditional thematic element.   The first hint we get of it is by the explanation that Jack comes from the country to the city pretending to be his brother and Algy goes from the city to the country pretending to visit Bunbury when he needs to escape his creditors.  Once the main characters are in the country, they don’t change their way of behaving or the lengths they go to enact faleshoods upon each other.

“When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people.”- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1

*What do you think about some of the leeway the film took getting across a point without adding dialog (tatoo and knight in shining armor)?

The first time I saw the film, after reading the play, I was amazed and amused at what the director added to the play without changing or adding to the dialog. The daydreams of Cecily, where Algernon wears the suit of armor, fits so perfectly with the fact that she keeps a journal and she had written letters to herself from the fictitious Earnest.  I also loved how they were able to portray Algy being aware of the dream but accepting it in the scene where his head is resting in Cecily’s lap and he looks down and just raises his eyebrows at the fact that he is in a suit of armor. So great without a single word to acknowledge the transformation! I laughed outloud at the end when Cecily is suddenly sitting on a horse in the middle of the house.

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2

*What do you think of the casting?

I have to admit I love everyone in this version of the play. Hands down my favorite is Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell! The warning of Caroline where she explains that her mother has a tendency to unexpectedly enter a room without warning is carried of brilliantly by Judi Dench, especially when she suddenly arrives at the country house.  Although I do love Rupert Everett as Algernon and Colin Firth as Jack, especially when they sing the song to get the girls to come down.  Anna Massey does a great job as the retiring mousy Miss Prism and Reese Witherspoon as Cecily. What do you think, could they have improved a character with a different actor(ess)?

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”-Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2

*Do you have a favorite line?

I love almost every line in this movie and have a hard time narrowing it down to one. I have placed several of my favorites in the above discussions and here are a few more for yours (and mine) enjoyment.

“London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.”- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 3

“To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.”

“I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1

What did you think? Did you like reading a play for a change? Let me know what you think!

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin Review

Jasmine Parks is one the best vampire hunters in the CIA, but after the death of her entire team she is surprised when the best hunter in the agency requests her to be his partner, the legendary vampire Vayl.  Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin follows Jaz and Vayl as they undertake what should have been a routine capture of a rogue vampire.  As the two go undercover to stop the leader of the terrorists group ‘Sons of Paradise’ they discover a much more menacing threat to humanity and vampire kind alike.

Jasmine is a believable character, struggling to balance her job in the CIA which requires her to travel all the time, a non-existent love life and a diabetic father who continually ignores his doctor’s advice and routinely scares off nurses. Jasmine’s belief in doing what was right for her family, even when she admits that her family relationships are strained at best, is admirable but her approach to tackling them, both with anger and humor made me like her.

Vayl, the mysterious vampire, by the end of the novel you understand more of who he is and some of the things he has gone through but there is still alot that needs to be figured out, including his reasons for doing some of the things he did. There a few supporting characters that really contributed to the story, including Bergman a neurotic, paranoid computer genius. I loved his quirks and super cool techie toys.

This is the first book in a serious of seven (as of November 2010), the story line was left wide open with a lot more back story with each of the characters.  I really liked it, there was no sex which seems so prevalent in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre, which is not to say there wasn’t sexual tension in the novel.  I enjoyed Rardin’s fine line between the world as we know it with just a little of the paranormal thrown in. Rardin’s ability to introduce a slightly humorous quirk of a character and then incorporate it into a bigger issue later in the novel was incredibly well done and had me second guessing what I had thought earlier in the novel.

Book Order:

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Another One Bites the Dust

Biting the Bullet

Bitten to Death

One More Bite

Bite Marks

Bitten in Two (Available November 2010)


Title: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Author: Jennifer Rardin

Format: Paperback and ebook

Page Nos.: 335

ISBN:  978-0316043540

Publisher: Orbit

Release Date: July 2009

Reviewer: Jessica

Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Genre Theme

The theme for the month of October is Paranormal and Urban Fantasy (I know, appropriate for Halloween, right?!). So what is paranormal and urban fantasy you ask?! Well, you have probably read it without realizing it. I have to admit prior to writing this I didn’t really understand the difference between the two genres (I am still not sure I fully understand the difference).

What is it that appeals so much to the reader about these genres? Is it the adventure type setting, where the heroine isn’t waiting at home for the man  to save her but is out kicking her portion of the bad guy? Is it the development of the characters, where they don’t always end in a happily ever after but more of a continuing journey? Or is it simply that it explains the unexplainable? Whatever it is, I have to admit I enjoy them and am looking forward to the reviews that will be posting this month.


Paranormal novels are any that include paranormal elements (duh, right?!). Basically anything supernatural such as werewolves, vampires, ghosts, demons or time travel, but even beyond that it can include psychic abilities and telekinesis.  Most blend elements of more than one into the same story.  Paranormal romance novels has its roots in the Gothic romance novel and is one of the fastest growing genres.  I think I can safely say that some of the first to blend elements of romance with gothic themes are Daphne De Maurier, Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe and Bram Stoker.

There are way more contemporary authors than I can name here but I thought I would mention some of the big ones I am aware of such as Diana Galbaldon, Sherilyn Kenyon,  Jayne Ann Krentz and Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. In addition to the popularity of the Paranormal Romance adult novels there has been an explosion of young adult novels in the genre, obviously I have to mention Stephanie Meyers, but beyond her we have Alyxandra Harvey, PC Cast, Richelle Mead and Cassandra Clare.

You read a great article by Paula Guran about the paranormal genre here.

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy involves elements of paranormal novels and is usually set in the city, dealing with problems that exist there.  Most urban fantasy novels are first person narrative and are about the main character’s journey.  The books I have read have characters who make mistakes and have to live with the consequences those mistakes.  The main characters are largely independent and can be partnered up equally with a male counterpart with whom they have a romantic relationship. The first series I think about under this genre is Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan novels, where she is a paranormal bounty hunter attempting to clean up the city and the agencies therein. The Jaz Parks series by the late Jennifer Rardin follows the main character and her vampire boss as they work as CIA operatives.  Urban fantasy does not guarantee the happily-ever-after that other romance genres do but they are fabulous nonetheless.

The Paranormal/Urban Fantasy genre is unique in the fact that so many of its fans are online blogging and talking about the novels.  Since starting Novel I have met numerous bloggers who cover this genre and I never cease to be amazed at the incredible content they provide as an online source.  There are sites with huge followings like Sci-fi Guy and Bitten by Books.

As we spend this spooktacular month looking at the genre make sure you stop by as we are visited by Angie Fox, author of The Accidental Demon Slayer, Bernita Harris author of Dark and Disorderly, Belinda Kroll author of Catching the Rose, and Terry Kate of Romance in the