Thursday, April 30, 2009

Midnight Pearls

By Debbie Viguie

On the day of the worst storm the country of Aster has ever seen, a lone fisherman finds an unexpected treasure: a little girl. The small girl is paler than snow, has silver-white hair, and long colt-like legs. The fisherman and his wife decide to call her Pearl. Thirteen years pass and Pearl feels so utterly different, not just because of her appearance, but because of her strange dreams. Her only comfort comes from her loving parents, and her only friend, Prince James. Then one day Pearl’s past comes forcefully back into her life, confusing and frightening her, and she has to decide what she really wants…and who she really wants to be.

Well, this is, as the cover says, a retelling of The Little Mermaid, and frankly wasn’t what I was expecting. This book is a prime example of a bad summary on the back. I was totally prepared for something that didn’t happen and so I was disappointed the whole time. And just for the record: I do not believe in love at first sight. This book is an advocate of that, and I was irritated. If you like Romeo and Juliet-like books, then you would like this. I really wish I had been prepped for a different kind of story for Pearl than the one that I was sure would happen. I would’ve enjoyed it more. It’s a quick read, though. I finished in two days at my leisure.


By Eoin Colfer

Conner Broekhart was born flying. To be precise, he was born in a hot air balloon; hence, the beginning of a life passionate about winning the race to fly. Connor is in the best position to fulfill his dream; student to the amazing French Aeronaut, Victory Vigny, he spends his days being tutored with Princess Isabella, his childhood friend, on the Saltee Islands off the cost of Ireland. Things are looking promising, both with his blossoming love for Isabella and with the race to fly- until Connor witnesses a horrible crime and unlocks a conspiracy against King Nicholas that turns his life upside down. Imprisoned for what he saw, he tries to escape; but the only way out is to fly…

This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down after I reached a certain point. The beginning was a little slow for me personally, but it really just clips along the whole time. Connor is an extremely bright kid with a future that was stolen from him just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story is a familiar plot-line, but has some very intriguing twists and turns making it into something quite extra-ordinary. The Saltee Islands are real islands that are un-inhabited, but Colfer puts a different spin and history on the islands that is completely believable and just amazing. I had to look it up because I thought it was historically accurate. I wish it was, it’s a lot more interesting than the real history (which by the way is pretty neat in itself). This book was absolutely amazing to read. By far my favorite from Eoin next to the Artemis Fowl series.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Door Within

By Wayne Thomas Batson

There are passages and doors
And realms that lie unseen.
There are roads both wide and narrow
And no avenue between.
Doors remain closed for those
Who in sad vanity yet hide.
Yet when belief is chosen,
The key appears inside.
What is lived now will soon pass,
And what is not will come to be.
The Door Within must open,
For one to truly see.

Aiden Thomas entered the Door Within after reading the scrolls of Alleble, and found himself catapulted into a war for the people of The Realm. With an entire city at stake, Aiden is called to become the twelfth knight in a quest to bring the people of Mithegard into alliance with King Eliam, the One True King. Aiden finds a new confidence in himself, forges friendships that will last lifetimes, and most importantly learns the truth about life as he knows it.

I have had the weirdest yet coolest dreams while reading this book. It has heavy parallelisms with Christianity and it quite fun to hunt for the little similarities. I even found a slightly changed verse of scripture from the Bible. This book gave me warm fuzzies as I read and related to the connotations toward Christ and believing and serving God, and finding truth. This book is geared more towards pre-teen and middle school agers, and I think boys specifically would like. It was fun to read and got me recalling why I love my religion. It was, at times, predictable, but also had enough surprises to keep me smiling and cheering Aiden on his way.

Interesting Info: This is the first in a trilogy, but I think that this stand pretty well on its own. I’ll look into reading the next two and let you know!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Will you draw me a sheep?” It was the first thing the pilot heard after his plane had crashed in the middle of the Sahara Dessert. So he says, “Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket.” This is the beginning of the strange dialogue between the pilot and the little prince from a different planet. In a fable of loneliness and love, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s final and most famous work is still powerful and moving to both children and adults alike.

Reading this book, I decided, was an act of providence. My little niece left it at my house after a visit this morning and so I decided to steal the 93 page book and read it, since I have wanted to read it for some time. This book is a gem. It is a fun book that I think parents would enjoy reading out-loud to their children. The simplicity in which it is written, and the deftness in which he speaks of love and also loneliness is inspiring and beautiful. Every single person who knows how to read should read this book. No one will be able to look at the stars on a clear night after reading this book without smiling and perhaps even a little laughter, and a thought about a prince and a rose on a faraway planet.

Interesting info: Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a French pilot. He wrote and illustrated The Little Prince in 1943, a year before his own plane disappeared over the Mediterranean as it was being attacked by a German plane.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Wish List

By Eoin Colfer

Meg Finn has just died, and she has a big problem: neither heaven nor hell will take her on. You see, Meg is an in-betweener. In the point system of the afterlife, she is dead even (no pun intended) in good deeds and bad deeds. So she gets to go back to help the person she wronged in life to fulfill his deepest needs and hopefully earn her place in heaven. The problem is that Satan really wants her down there with him. Will Meg be able to turn her after-life around in time to save her soul?

This was interesting. It was a little depressing, and sometimes I had an uncomfortable feeling and then would think the word ‘blasphemer’. While reading this book I just had to take it as a joke because taking it seriously would’ve been depressing. It’s all about what happens after you die. You go to the good place or the bad place or are stuck in limbo until they decide what to do with you. Pretty cut and dry. On a whole, I didn’t much care for this novel, though I adore Eoin’s other books. This was a little too weird for me, as I believe quite differently on the subject of life after death. Others may find it funny and enjoy it. But I don’t recommend it.

Fun Fact: Eoin Colfer also has written the Artemis Fowl series, The Supernaturalists, Airman, Half Moon Investigations, Benny and Omar, and Benny and Babe.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


By Shannon Hale

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little…” Jane Hayes however, was in want of very much. And her obsession with Mr. Darcy (as played by Colin Firth) was getting in the way. But Jane just can’t let him go! So, in an attempt to put in all behind her, Jane accepts an invitation to Pembrook Park, a place where people live the life of Regency England, and are able to find a Mr. Darcy all their own. Jane believes that once she gets it out of her system, she will be able to finally throw out her Austen books, and her precious BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and live a normal life…but things never turn out the way you plan.

Hmm. This is Shannon Hale’s first book for adults, and it was funny at first. Then it got a little exasperating, then embarrassing, then funny again, then just really gushy. There were parts that I thought were absolutely hilarious and tickled my fancy, but other parts where I was going, ‘whoa horsey!’ in my head. There was a little too much candor in the character of Jane Hayes at times, and a little too much intensity with certain members of the opposite sex. For others it probably would be funny, but to me it seemed so utterly ridiculous that a woman would be so desperate. I clashed with Jane Hayes as a character, so I have very conflicting feelings toward this book. The whole context is just a little surreal and odd, flinging 21st century people into Austenland, where I was never sure who was for ‘real’ and who was acting. Neither was Jane, and that was the frustrating part. But it was a fun little read, a little under 200 pages, I stayed up until 3 A.M. finishing it, just because I can! I think most women who ever had a liking for Mr. Darcy and his declarations of ‘fine eyes’ will enjoy this little adaptation of trying to let go of the perfect model to find something real.

Funny Info: The book dedication states: “For Colin Firth, You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.” Shannon Hale makes me laugh.