Friday, September 18, 2009

Snow White and Rose Red

By Patricia C. Wrede

The Queen of Faerie has two half-mortal sons. Hugh is content to stay in Faerie, but John feels compelled to roam the mortal lands, returning home to visit between Hallowe'en and May Eve. Then, because the beautiful but willful spirit Madini wishes to see all ties between Faerie and mortal lands severed forever, he is forbidden to leave home again.

Snow White and Rose Red live on the edge of the forest that conceals the ever-shifting, elusive border of Faerie. They know enough about Faerie lands and mortal magic to be most concerned when they find two human socerers setting spells near the Faerie border on the day of All Hallows.

And when the kindly, intelligent black bear wanders into their cottage some months later, they do not realize the connection between his plight and the sorcery they saw in the forest...

Yes, I read another fairy-tale novel. I know everyone must be sick of them, but I just can't help myself. Even after I get disappointed time and time again, I just have to keep punishing myself. This story wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't terrible either. I was quite attached to John and Hugh, but all the other characters seemed a little...comical. And the language threw me off quite a bit. It's set in Elizabethan Englan, and the language reflects it. I was constantly tripping over the thous, t'was, and hadst, and had to figure out a few little uses of words that meant something completely different than they do now. I was a little frusterated, as if I wanted to be harangued about language, I would read Shakespeare thank you very much. It takes concentration to keep up with Elizabethan language, and I wanted none of it, so I was mad at having to deal with it, even if it was simlified a lot. I honestly wouldn't waste my time with this one. It was fluffy, but also had some wierd little snippits of 'magic' that was similar to what I would've called black magic that strange people still believe in, and frankly that stuff makes me uneasy and finding it in a book for kids was a little disturbing. Oh well, I'm probably over-reacting, but that stuff really just creeps me out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

By John Flanagan

The Rangers, with their shadowy ways, have always made him nervous. And now fifteen-year-old Will has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. But what he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom who will fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time he will not be denied....

This book turned out to be quite fun to read, and I truly liked the story. It is similar to others, knights, magic, honor and love. Will is very likeable, the 'everyman' of the story, as often happens with the protagonist. But not only is there a strong main character, but many wonderful side characters, including The Rangers themselves. It is a good story, I'd think that younger boys would really like it a lot. So far there are six books in the series, but each book is around 250 pages, so it is a very quick read. I specifically liked the little side story about how this story came about. It was a story that John Flanagan told his son Michael. It has become a best-seller for youths, and I can see why. It has the feel of the old tales around the times of King Arthur, and a heart to match. A fun read for adults and kids alike.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Title Survey!

I found this on another bookblogger's site and had to do my own. I had fun coming up with the best answers. A few were kinda hard and may be hard to understand if you don't know me.

Instructions: Using only books you have read this year (2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe Yourself: Things Not Seen (Andrew Clemments) I'm a hermit in training.

How do you feel: Beastly (Alex Flinn)

Describe where you currently live: The Lighthouse Land (Adrian McKinty)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Austenland (Shannon Hale)

Your favorite form of transport: Castle in the Air (Diana Wynne Jones)

Your best friend is: The Goose Girl (Shannon Hale)

What's the weather like: Watch the Skies (James Patterson)

Favorite time of day: Midnight Pearls (Debbie Viguie)

What is life to you: Belle (Cameron Dokey) That means beauty-just in case you didn't know.

Your fear: Catching Fire (Suzane Collins) It really is.

What is the best advice you have to give: As a Man Thinketh (James Allen)

Thought for the Day: However Long and hard the Road (Jeffery R. Holland)

How I would like to die: Curse of the Shadow Plague (Brandon Mull)

My soul's present condition: Inkheart (Cornelia Funke) as in, my heart bleeds ink!

The Lighthouse Land

By Adrian McKinty

When Jamie O'Neill's mother inherits a small island in Ireland, she packs up the family apartment in Harlem and moves her son to the Irish coast. Devastated by the loss of his arm to cancer, Jamie hasn't spoken in a year, and at first the move doesn't seem enough to shake him from his despair.

But the island has a secret, locked in the top of its ancient lighthouse, and Jamie, a descendent of the last of the Irish kings, is its inheritor. Discovering the secret will send him on an intersteller mission that could change the course of his life, and the universe, forever. The Lighthouse Land is the first thrilling installment in an epic trilogy.

So, this was one of those books that I saw and though, 'hmmm, it's got a cool title, and the cover looks interesting, I think I'll try it.' The last few times I've done this I have been horribly disappointed, but thankfully my bad luck ran out and I found this fun mix of science fiction and fantasy. The story is interesting, though I did smile to myself a few times at some of the more unbelievable parts. It's basically about a kid who has gone through the trauma of having cancer and is really just stuck in limbo not knowing how his life could ever be the same after losing his arm. In a sort of self-imposed isolation, he refuses to anyone. But when he moves to Ireland with his mother, he finally makes a friend that doesn't skirt around him because of his arm, or his choice not to speak. And he and his new friend make the discovery of a lifetime...and so they start on an adventure that leads Jamie to find his voice again, and make discoveries about himself that he never knew before. It was a great read, and one that I couldn't put down. There were only a few little setbacks for me, one being the rather naively written romance, or perhaps its well written, since Jamie is 13. I don't know. Then, it does swear quite a bit. Jamie's good buddy has a filthy mouth, and Jamie isn't too bad himself sometimes. But other than that, I enjoyed it heartily, and it gave me quite a few laughs and gave me some things to think about; which is my favorite part of a good book.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


By Cornelia Funke

Okay, here's another one I can't summarize without giving away the first two books in the series. I don't think I've even reviewed Inkspell, which is the second book. This is the third and last book in the Inheart trilogy. It's so good. It did take me quite a while to get into it though. It's not like some books that just suck you in from the begginning. It probably took me about 5-10 chapters to start getting to the point where I really wanted to read it. It changed perspectives a lot which confused me just a bit. Sometimes I couldn't tell if it was Meggie or Mo who was speaking for a paragraph or two. But it's not enough to detract, and it was probably just me. The characters gain even more depth in this last installment, and I just love Mo! He seriously is my hero. I mean, a bookbinder! I started learning the art after I read Inkheart and I'm getting really into it. I'm saving up my pennies to get the tools of the trade. It just makes my endorphins go wild! Okay, sorry, I'm digressing. The whole series just seems to be written for people who love to read/write. Everyone who loves reading should try it out. I adore them and thank Mo for getting me started into bookbinding! :D

Catching Fire

By Suzane Collins

Okay, I'm just going to go right into my review for this one, because I can't figure out how to summarize what this book is about without giving things away. This is the second book in The Hunger Games series. IT IS SO GOOD! But also horrible. I was in shock about some of the things Katniss has to go through. I literally couldn't put it down. I read it in about 5 hours, putting it down at 2 AM in the morning, and then stewing for another hour because I just couldn't believe it, and then when I finally did go to sleep I dreamed about it all night. No joke.

This book starts by just sucking you right into the story, and then you enter the black hole that is Panem and District 12 and you're gone for the next few hours. I honest to goodness have never read a book where I had absolutely no idea, not even a suspision about what was going to happen next. I couldn't believe some of the things that happened. Now that I'm writing this review I just keep thinking of things and shake my head and about start crying because I'll have to wait another year until the last book comes out. Everyone should read this series. Wow. Holy Cow. It is so incredible. If you haven't read this series, start. Now. Read The Hunger Games! Then go get Catching Fire! They are fantabulouso! I can't get over it. WOW!!!

The Witch's Boy

By Michael Grubber

"Once upon a time, in a faraway country, there was a woman who lived by herself in the middle of the great forest." So begins the story of a woman who finds an ugly distorted baby in the woods and decides to raise him as her own, calling him Lump, for that was how he looked. While the woman is wise in the ways of magic, she knows little of being a mother, as she gives the bear Ysul to be Lump's nursmaid, and a djinn to be his tutor. As can be expected, all does not go well, and many misfortunes befall both the woman and the boy.

Because of his ugliness, Lump is cruelly treated, and harbors a self-loathing that even magic cannot cure. He begins wearing a mask to hide his face, and shuns the people who would have been friends. With clever ways of inserting old fairy tales into the workings of this grand fairy tale of the Witch's Boy, it is both well written, and heartfelt. Lump's journey into becoming a man is one no one will want to miss, as it is filled with heartache, sadness, magic, and in the end, a joy above all.

I recently read this book for the second time, and I just love it. The first time I read it, I was really quite depressed while reading it, pity for Lump mixed in with my disappointment in his choices. He was an ideal main character, and while he makes some very horrible decisions, he also turns into a character that everyone will love. This book starts rather happy, then turns darker and darker, only to have the sun shining at high noon at the very last page. I would reccomend this book to anyone who likes fairytales, though this one is completely original. You'll find the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretl, and even Rumplstilskin intertwined within the pages. It's fun to try and find them as you're reading. It's a fun coming of age book with a magical twist.

As a Man Thinketh

By James Allen

Throughout his life, James Allen sought an oasis of tranquility amidst the violent tides of change wrought by the Industrial Revolution in England. Inspired by his meditations, he composed a series of short, pointed essays on the power of thinking positively and its influence on character, circumstance, and health. Since its publication, As a Man Thinketh has put that power in the hands of millions of readers, and continues to provide inspiration in the twenty-first century.

In expanding on the aphorism "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," Allen takes in the full range of natural philosphy. His message is that we are the architects of our own destiny, and that the tools for building a purposeful, satisfying life lie within us, "Only the wise man, only he he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him," writes Allen. As a Man Thinketh is a book of optimism, hope, and practical good sense for all those seeking wisdom and serenity in a turbulent, complex world.

I was first introduced to As a Man Thinketh in my institute class my freshman year of college. I had every intention of picking it up and reading the whole of his essays, but it has taken me three years to actually do it. I wish I would've read it sooner. Allen's book is full of great and powerful truths about the way we work and how our thoughts direct our lives. It is absolutely amazing. I read it and found out a lot about myself and have started putting many of its teachings into practice. Everyone should not only read this book, but they should go buy it, and read it again and again, marking it and treasuring it. It is one of those books that will make your life better by reading it! It went directly on my 'favorites' shelf, only to go right back into my purse to read whenever I get a moment. Again, it is fantastic!

Freak the Mighty

By Rodman Philbrick

"Killer Kane, Killer Kane, had a kid who got no brain!"

That's what they used to yell at me, and then they'd run like crazy because I'm the spitting image of my bad old dad. Or so they say. I never gave it a lot of thought beause basically it was easier to act brainless, and when you're as big as I am, people believe it. Even my mother's people, Grim and Gram, even they were afraid of me.
Everything changed when Freak moved into the neighborhood. Little dude about two feet tall, he was smarter than Einstein, so smart he wrote his own dictionary, and invented flying machines, and discovered buried treasure, and the weird thing is, he wasn't afraid of me. No way, he was too smart for that.
Okay, so Freak was a genius, but was I really as dumb as I looked? You better believe it. I never had a brain until Freak came along because there were certain things I didn't want to remember. Bad things, terrible things.
Later, when we started having our adventures, slaying dragons and fools and walking high above the world, it was Freak himself who taught me that remembering is a great invention of the ind, and if you try hard enough you can remember anything, whether is happened or not.
And that's the truth. The unvanquished truth. Like everything inside this book.

Okay, I picked this book up at the used book store, thinking it would be really good, because well I saw the movie and it was fantastic. This book apparently was one of the few exceptions (in my mind) that the movie was better. This is only the second book I've come across that I liked the movie better. So, instead of reading this, go rent the movie. It's really really good.