Saturday, July 27, 2013

Odd and the Frost Giants

By Neil Gaiman

In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.
In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he’s had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.
Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle—three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined—a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It’s going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.
Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever…

Someone just like Odd.

The more I read from Neil Gaiman the more I like his style. This particular short story felt like it could be included in the old Norse mythologies and read much like those said stories. I love mythology and so of course loved this book. Odd was fantastic, relatable, and courageous.  It was fun to see the gods Odin, Thor, and Loki in such an interesting situation, and kids will enjoy this book and know these characters from the recent Avengers and Thor movies of past years. I think every kid would enjoy reading this; it’s short and has fantastic illustrations.  I hope to add it to my own library soon.

I give it a 4.25 out of 5


By Kenneth Oppel

Shade is a young Silverwing bat, the runt of his colony. But he’s determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a fierce storm, he loses the others and soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life. Desperately searching for a way to rejoin his flock, Shade meets a remarkable cast of characters: Marina, a Brightwing bat with a strange metal band on her leg; Zephyr, a mystical albino bat with a strange gift; and Goth, a gigantic carnivorous vampire bat. But which ones are friends and which ones are enemies? In this epic story of adventure and suspense, Shade is going to need all the help he can find—if he hopes to ever see his family again.

This is a novel along the lines of many kid’s books about human-like animals. It reminded me a bit of Katherine Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole. It didn’t feel quite as adventure-like or structured as her series, but it is fun and follows the same kind of story. A young runt bat, who is different from his kin sets out to change the way life is for bats all around the world. He gets lost and makes friends along the way, and finds betrayal and sees things he never dreamed of and discovers the horrors as well as the beauties of life. It is a fun adventure for kids who enjoy animal stories and want to learn more about bats. It was enjoyable to read if a bit slow at times.

I give it a 3 out of 5- it was average for its genre.

What I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single

By John Bytheway

These are the hard questions of the young single adult years, made all the harder by the pressure many feel to move from “solo” to “duet” status. In this insightful book, popular author John Bytheway explores how to do life as a young adult: what to expect, how to cope, and where to turn for answers.
John offers the parable of the piano as a metaphor for the young adult experience: sitting alone on a piano bench with a piece of music, “Matrimony: A Duet,” propped up in front of you. As people come by and offer their suggestions (“You could play that music if you tried harder” or “if you had more faith” or “if you weren’t so picky”) things can get pretty frustrating. “don’t get too discouraged,” John counsels, and he goes on to offer plenty of sound advice on “getting joyfully through these in-between years.”
You’ll learn to stop focusing on things you can’t control, to play the dating game in such a way that you’ll have no regrets later, to express affection appropriately, to recognize when someone might be “the right one” for you—and when that someone might not be. Filled with counsel from Church leaders, John’s personal experiences, and a healthy dose of humor, What I Wish I’d Known When I Was a Single is a must-have guide to young adult life.

This is one of those books that I wanted to read, and yet didn’t want to read. As a young adult in the LDS religion we get hammered with the marriage talk at every turn. Once you hit age 23 the culture at large starts to worry for your prospects, and whether you’ll ever find your match. It can be stressful and discouraging. With his trademark humor and empathetic warmth, John Bytheway introduces new analogies and ways to deal with life while dating, courting, and waiting for a good match in the LDS culture. This book is not just about dating though, it’s about living life and finding happiness no matter what as a single young adult. It’s got some great advice about how to handle situations that are difficult; like breaking it off and how to handle rejection and move on, and how to handle unwanted attention and how to avoid being the person who give the unwanted attention.  It does feel slightly out of date at times, having been written more than ten years ago, but it still has some great advice in it and I would happily lend it to any single adult out there.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5

The Memory of a Salt Shaker

By Bernard M. Cox

Bert discovers the salt in an ordinary salt shaker gives him the power to see his life through the eyes of his deceased wife. This magical realist short story is the first story in The Space Within These Lines collection exploring memory and loss in an effort to show that which connects all people, the power of love.

This short story was endearing and creative. A man, who tragically loses his wife by violent means, finds that when he uses salt from their salt shaker he is able to see memories of their lives together through her eyes. It is told in short spouts of memory and the loss unfolds as well as their love. It is a unique way to show how people deal with the death of loved ones.  There is mature content; sexual references and some smoking.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5

Esperanza Rising

By Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico—she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances—Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

I’ve been told to read this again and again and I finally got to it. I can tell why so many people told me to read it, and I’m fairly certain it has won awards, but not sure which. It’s the story of a rich Mexican girl turned poor immigrant to America that has to work as a laborer when her father is murdered in Mexico and her mother falls ill when they reach America. Esperanza means Hope rising.  This historical text is definitely about hope and rising above your circumstances. It was touching and educated me about a part of American history I didn’t know much about. I enjoyed the incorporation of Spanish words and culture as well. It’s a great book for kids and adults that enjoy historical fiction and coming-of-age novels.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5 but it’s dangerously close to a 4


By Taylor Longford

When a fabulous winged sculpture mysteriously saves Elaina’s life, she travels across the country in her search to learn more about him. But the good-looking gargoyle she finds in Colorado isn’t exactly happy to see her. Too bad he’s going to be her new college roommate. New sparks fly every time Elaina and Reason look at each other.

Here’s the 3rd installment in the Greystone novels, this one is about the over-protective Reason, who was initially fighting Valor for MacKenzie, but offered to take the place of his cousin on a seemingly cushy mission to avoid the gargoyles getting split up. In his journey he meets Elaina, a girl who is irritatingly different, a girl who Reason can’t stop thinking about, no matter how much he wants to. Elaina is off to college, an art student, and ends up bringing along an untrusting Reason, who insists that to protect his family he must watch this girl who has discovered their secret. This installment is geared toward a little more mature audience, as it takes place not with high-school aged protagonists, but with a college aged girl. It was interesting and a lot more relatable for me, as I’m in college myself.  There are some scenes with mature material, such as Elaina’s off hand comments about boys trying to “get in her pants” and another drunk boy going after her. Again, more mature, so be careful if that bothers you. I’m fairly sensitive, and this did bother me some, but I also really liked it. Not only was this one about Reason, but it also was about his missing brothers, so there was an added mystery that I look forward to figuring out.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5


By Jenni James

A young prince crippled by a witch.
When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his falst death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle.
Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boast that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father.
Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…

This is probably my favorite version of Rumplestiltskin I’ve read. It was sweet and had good morals in it; just along the lines of the fun and fluffy romantic stories that Jenni James has written. After reading Hansel and Gretel, I was worried that her other books would go downhill, but she’s right back in the game with this one and I thouroughly enjoyed the story of the young cursed prince who falls for his brother’s intended, not because of her beauty, which she is, but because he is kind and sees her in trouble. It is his kindness that wins her heart, and his inherent goodness and humor. I loved this version and think that anybody who enjoys fairy-tale retellings will love it too. I highly recommend this one.

I give it a 4 out of 5- great for a fairy tale.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beyonders 3: Chasing the Prophecy

By Brandon Mull

Jason and Rachel were not born in Lyrian. They did not grow up in Lyrian. But after all of the battles and losses, the triumphs and adventures, and most of all, the friendships forged in this fantastical world, Lyrian has become home to them in a way they never could have imagined.
And so, armed now with the prophecy of a dying oracle, they have gone on their separate quests—each surrounded by brave and powerful allies—knowingthat the chance for success is slim. But Jason and Rachel are ready at last to become the heroes Lyrian needs, no matter the cost.

It took me a while to get to this read because I thought I’d read the first two books as a review, but I ended up just reading it anyway. This is the last book in the Beyonders series, and it was jam-packed with adventure and Brandon Mull’s trademark creativity and amazing characters. As I’ve stated before I absolutely love his creatures that he has created. The Seed Men and Displacers are my favorites in this series. I think my favorite character (besides Galloran, how can you not love him?) Is Ferrin, the displacer that turned traitor because of Jason’s valor and friendship. I love his honesty and that he always says he may betray them at any second and makes sure they know what he will do to survive. His story in this installment is my favorite. In this novel we move between two groups of heroes and friends, Jason’s group, who are on a quest to get information from a long-dead seer, and Rachel’s group who are on their way to attack Maldor at his impregnable keep. As their adventures come together and line up the reader is surprised at the slim chance they are given for victory, but the question is; will it be enough to win the day and save the people of Lyrian from tyranny and death?

I give this 3.75 out of 5 – it’s fun and a great ending to a good series.

Into the Land of the Unicorns

Bruce Coville

Eight! Nine! Ten! As each bell chime sounds, Cara pushes herself faster up the steep bell tower steps that lead to the roof. Eleven! She must be on the roof when the next bell tolls. As she races up the stairs, Cara can’t believe everything that has happened. Wasn’t it just a few minutes ago that she and Grandmother Morris were peacefully walking home from the library? When did that mysterious man start to follow them? What does he want? Where did he come from? Who is he? Twelve! The ringing bell brings Cara back to the moment. Gramma told her what she must do. With a deep breath, and only half believing she will be safe, Cara jumps off the church roof and into the adventure of her lifetime—into the Land of Luster, the world of the unicorns.
In Luster, Cara meets the Dimblethum, the Squijum, and the most magnificent of all the inhabitants, Lightfoot, a rebellious young unicorn. Together the new friends set out on a quest—to reach the Unicorn Queen and prevent the destruction of all unicorns.

Bruce Coville is one of those authors that I loved as a kid. I’ve had this book since I was probably 8 years-old. I, like many little girls, loved unicorns. This book is fun and fast-paced and great for kids; specifically girls. A classic journey tale, it’s got fun companions, the dimblethum and the squijum are loyal and unique, and remind me a bit of Gurgy from Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain chronicles. The story of the land of the unicorns and the hunters is creative and unique, something a kid can latch onto and love. I highly recommend this book for kids and adults alike. This is one of those rare children’s books that can hold the interest of adults, while not being a book that I would recommend solely to an adult. It's also a series, so if your child likes it, there's more where this came from! 

I give it a 3.5 out of five, probably a 3 or 2.5 for adults.

The Cold King

By Amber Jaeger

Calia Thorn has lived her entire life in a small town sheltered by the Cold King’s mountain. Working day and night to care for her younger siblings, complete her unending chores and please her selfish, lazy mother has left her with few dreams for her own future.
But then even those meager hopes are taken from her when the Cold King comes down from his mountain to demand a new servant. Ungraceful, unladylike, undesired and unwanted by even her own family, Calia is chosen to be sent to the palace.
The Cold King has lived for three hundred years under a curse imposed by his own father. With no hope of ever breaking it, he settles for keeping his heart frozen against any pain—or hope.
When his new servant arrives, she challenges him in ways no one ever has and sparks fly. But not every Beast is a prince charming at heart and not every beauty is a maiden just waiting for love.

Sometimes happily ever after isn’t so easy…

This is yet another retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  My aim is to find the best one out there! This one as they go, was different and very good. It’s more ‘realistic’ rather than fantasy. It dealt with abuse and some other mature issues along those lines. Calia is treated abominably not only by her family, but by the “Cold King” as well. He isn’t the charming misunderstood cursed beast that we’re used to; he’s really quite damaged. He’s suffered a great deal and it’s made him selfish and truly cold to other people. While he offers kindness to his servants, who love serving him and would do anything for him and their home, he has difficulty trusting people and allowing them to care for him. Calia is forced to become his personal servant, basically a sacrifice. Their relationship is interesting and complicated, just as relationships are in real life. It’s a gradual thing and sometimes a very painful thing. Like I said, there are instances of abuse, neglect and attempted rape. This is a book for more mature audiences, that being said it handled things very well and tactfully. There are hard themes in this book and while I don’t particularly think this is the best re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, it is a good book. I just prefer my fairy-tales to be more whimsical, believable, but light. This was heavy and at times cringe-worthy in the cruelty shown.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5 because it was well-done and handled hard topics


By Taylor Longford

Think you know about gargoyles? The beautiful winged race disappeared eight hundred years ago. When they last walked the earth, they traveled in close-knit packs, their throats marked with ancient runes. Their greatest enemies were the ugly and brutal harpies that people today mistake for gargoyles.
The victim of a harpy attack at seventeen, Dare lost his wings along with his poisonous barbs. When he meets Mim, he doesn’t consider himself much of a catch. But Mim is the only power that can make the broken gargoyle whole again. And when she’s abducted by a harpy, he’s willing to sacrifice himself for her freedom.
Which might have worked, if Mim hadn’t been willing to do the same thing.

I was excited to read this second installment in the Greystone series. Valor was surprisingly fun to read, mostly because what girl doesn’t dream of a guy that falls for her based on her personality? I loved how she made virtue and goodness the ‘beauty’ that attracts the handsome protagonists of this series. These books are romances with action thrown in the mix. The first novel was about Valor and MacKenzie, more like a typical teen love, this second novel is about Valor’s damaged brother Dare. He doesn’t have wings and barbs like his brothers, and he is undeniably attracted to MacKenzie’s friend Mim, the most attractive girl any of them have met because she’s so good. Dare feels like he has no chance with her because he can’t protect her the way he needs to and he has no wings, he feels like he’s a shadow of himself, the daring gargoyle he once was before being kidnapped by a horrible harpy. This novel is fun, following the moody Dare and the innocent and loving Mim’s relationship. Like the first, it is all about love. A great addition to a fluffy and fun paranormal romance series.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5

Hansel and Gretel

By Jenni James

Hansel’s father finds a child lost and alone during a violent thunderstorm. After bringing her in from the tempest, he and his son are startled to discover that she is Gretel, a princess of Larkein—the enemy kingdom their own king has just destroyed. Fearful for her life, Hansel pleads with his father to save her. He believes they can make Gretel good by teaching her their ways. His kindhearted father agrees, but with great trepidation.
Ten years later, Gretel has grown into a lovely young woman who both infuriates and drives Hansel to distraction while he attempts to not lose his heart to her. When the Larkein witch comes back in the guise of a beautiful woman and marries their father, everything is set into a tailspin. Now they must figure out their new stepmother’s plans and prevent her from destroying them all before it is too late.

I always feel guilty giving a bad review of anything, but this book just gave me a headache. I read it out loud to someone else, which may have been my first mistake, but the writing was atrocious. It was ridiculous and the language that James decided to use, thus, alas, and so forth felt incredibly out of place. They spoke normally and then suddenly Alas! It was irritating. Also, the plot was boring and the romance so so so cheesy.  This felt like a rough draft that still needed loads of revision.  I was so disappointed because I really love some of her other books. Rumplestiltskin was great, as was Cinderella. This was horrid. Please skip this one if you’re reading her fairy tale collection. Sad day.

I give it a 1 out of 5

The Bone Knife

By Intisar Khanani

Rae knows how to look out for family. Born with a deformed foot, she feigns indifference to the pity and insults that come her way. Wary of all things beautiful, Rae instantly distrusts their latest visitor: an appallingly attractive faerie. Further, his presence imperils the secret her sister guards. But when the local townspeople show up demanding his blood, Rae must find a way to protect both her sister’s secret and their guest. Even if that means risking herself.

There was only one bad thing about this story. It was way too short. This was fantastically written, simple and beautiful and the world was magic. I would read anything this author wrote in a heartbeat if this short story is any indication. It was fantastic. I really really wanted it to keep going. I loved the characters and the faerie was so abnormal and creative. Rae was a great character and immediately deep.  I would recommend this story to anybody who loves a good tale. Bravo.

P.S. It's free if you have a Kindle!

I give it a 4.5 out of 5

I Hope You Know How Much I Love You!

By John Bytheway

 Recharge your spiritual batteries with this delightful Time Out for Women Classic book by well-known author and speaker, John Bytheway. With humor and insight, John takes us through invaluable lessons he has learned in order to have a happier life. His advice to be content with ourselves and our accomplishments, reduce stress by striving to have the Spirit with us, choose to be delightful, show more appreciation to those we love, and rely on the Savior, among other great ideas, offers hope to us all. As John states, “Hopefully this book will be a battery charge for our lives.

I really love John Bytheway, as do many others that have either heard him speak or read his books. He has the best humor and the best spiritual connections to his stories that I have heard. This little book geared toward women is fantastic. I loved all the things that he talks about and it gave me a great epiphany and helped me see things in a more positive light in my own life. It was a great half hour of reading and I’ll probably read it again. My favorite part was the definition of a blessing: Anything that brings you closer to God.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Fox Inheritance

By Mary E. Pearson

Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred and sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox.

I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox, so I was pretty excited to read the next installment. Like many books that I greatly enjoy the sequel didn’t quite live up to its predecessor. It had more gloom and desperation in it that brought the entire feel of the book to a different place than the first novel. The themes were very adult, Kara was the most manipulative person I’ve read in literature for a while and I hate that-so I guess that was good if you looks at it that way. Locke was a confused kid who took most of the novel trying to figure out how to love both of his friends without betraying one of them. It was sad and hard. That being said, most of my miff with this sequel is that it was so sad and hard to read. Not that it was badly written, just difficult. The first book had some incredible themes in it and it was fantastically written and handled, but it had hope throughout and plenty of humanity. This second one calls humanity into question and deals with much bigger questions. All in all, it’s a great book, but it just got too heavy for me at times. And with that, I’m still going to read the last book because the characters are great and I want to know what happens.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5 because it was well-conceived and written, despite my gloom after finishing it.

The Cabinet of Wonders

By Marie Rutkoski

Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But it’s never been ordinary. She has a tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her snarled hair. Her best friend can trap lightning inside a glass sphere. Petra also has a father in faraway Prague who is able to move metal with his mind. He has been commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the world’s finest astronomical clock. Petra’s life is forever changed when, one day, her father returns home—blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and wears them. But why? Petra doesn’t know, but she knows this: she will go to Prague, sneak into Salamander Castle, and steal her father’s eyes back. Joining forces with Neel, whose fingers extend into invisible ghosts that pick locks and pockets, Petra finds that many people in the castle are not what they seem, and that her father’s clock has powers capable of destroying their world.

This was a book that sounded like a fun adventure along the lines of other books like Savvy by Ingrid Law, so I was fairly excited to read it. I was sad to find that I was bored with the over-complex workings of the world that the author created, while some things were simply unexplainable, others that could have sharpened the vision of the world were vague. I found the characters interesting, but didn’t care much for the protagonist Petra, but her little spider Astrophil was fantastic. I also like Neel, who was like a gypsy Aladdin. I enjoyed this book but it felt tedious at times to read and it was hard for me to finish.  It had many elements of a great book, but the delivery was at times too vague or too complex.

I give it a 2.75 out of 5- slightly below average.

The Great Gatsby

By Scott F. Fitzgerald

The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920’s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

This is one of those books that you hear that everybody should read before they die. I had to read it for a class, and I’m still not sure why it’s so popular. It was pretty boring to read, well written but dull. It was filled with strange parties and the mysterious Gatsby, and then we get into the affairs. That’s awesome. Then you’ve got a hit and run. And that’s pretty much it. And I didn’t ruin anything. It was recently made into a movie which I have heard was really good, but had no interest whatsoever in seeing. Maybe when it comes out I’ll go Red Box it. Maybe.

I give it a 3 out of 5- average, well written.
Here's the trailer for the movie if you're interested.

Princess of the Midnight Ball

By Jessica Day George

Rose is one of twelve princesses forced to dance through the night in an underground palace. The key to breaking the spell lies in magic knitting needles, and invisibility cloak, and of course-true love.

This story is pretty straightforward. It’s the retelling of the 12 dancing princesses, curses, love, evil monsters, etc. While not being something utterly fantastic and new, this was fun to read. The protagonist, Galen, was easy to like with his knitting and general kindnesses. Rose, the eldest princess is fairly typical for a princess, but is greatly more in depth as a character than any of her sisters, who tend to blend into the background with all their flower names. This is a sweet little love story/adventure. It’s fun for entertainment.

I give it a 3 out of 5-it’s average.


By Lauren Oliver

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.

I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.

I want to get it over with.

It’s hard to be patient.

It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet.

Still, I worry.

They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.

The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.


Okay, I’ll admit right off the bat that I probably am not the best person to review this book.  I got about halfway through and was so bored with the plot that I skimmed the rest (reading mostly the dialogue) so I know what happens and the gist of the story. While the premise is promising, I mean love as a disease? That’s pretty interesting and I was excited to see how the author handled this idea. I wish she would’ve delved deeper into some of the aspects, like after the surgery the people start not only to stop loving, but stop feeling pain and other strange side-effects.  The love story wasn’t as deep as I’d have liked. It seemed like the entire time she was scared of him and yet still hung out with him. Weird? Yes. Also, I would like to say that I did not like the fact that it talked about nudity as a good relationship between two teenagers. That’s when I started skimming. And if anybody reads these reviews they know how I hate sexual content period, but between young people I absolutely hate it. While there might not have been outright sex scenes, it was enough ‘messing around’ to make me uncomfortable and unlikely to finish this series.  Honestly, it had a few things that reminded me of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, and it is ten times better, so if you want a good read that’s similar, but better, go read that.


I give it a 2 out of 5 for content and shallow plot.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

By Terry Pratchett

One rat, popping up here and there, squeaking loudly, and taking a bath in the cream, could be a plague all by himself. After a few days of this, it was amazing how glad people were to see the kid with his magical pipe. And they were amazing when the rats followed him out of town.

They’d have been really amazed if they’d ever found out that the rats and the piper met up with a cat somewhere outside of town and solemnly counted out the money.

The Amazing Maurice runs the perfect Pied Piper scam. This streetwise alley cat knows the value of cold, hard cash and can talk his way into and out of anything. But when Maurice and his cohorts decide to con the town of Bad Blintz, it will take more than fast talking to survive the danger that awaits. For this is a town where food is scarce and rats are hated, where cellars are lined with deadly traps, and where a terrifying evil lurks beneath the hunger-stricken streets…


Terry Pratchett is another author that I’ve been meaning to get to for years. I’ve heard much good about his works and was excited when I was assigned this book for my college young adult lit class. That being said, I did enjoy this stand-alone story that takes place in Pratchett’s popular discworld. The animals were fantastic, specifically Maurice, Ham n’Pork and Dangerous Beans. It was droll and very humorous poking fun at fairy-tales and stories in general in the form of the dramatic Malicia. The most sensible person in the story at times seems to be Keith, the boy piper, who at first comes across as a bit of a dunce.  I loved the characterizations of a con-artist cat and his intelligent mice and the ensuing adventure. This story is very entertaining and will leave anybody with a smile on their face. There are times when Pratchett’s style reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones, whom I love to read for her dry wit. I look forward to reading more from Terry Pratchett.

I give it a solid 3.5 out of 5

Confessions of an Unbalanced Woman

By Emily Watts

Do you ever feel as if your life is out of balance somehow? Is it just too hard to get it all in—the family, the Church work, the job? Does it seem like everyone’s needs are being met but yours? If you could use a little lift, this book is what you’re looking for!

With her trademark humor and common-sense insights, author Emily Watts describes her own desperate—and sometimes ludicrous—struggle to find balance in her life. Her quest was foiled at every turn…until she made an unexpected discovery that shifted her perspective dramatically. What if there were something better than balance?


 In true form, Emily Watts gives women a great message with great humor. She has a great analogy of a washing machine getting out of balance and it made me smile; I think this has happened to everyone who’s had to learn to do their own washing at an early age. It’s a nice feel-good book that will leave you smiling and give you some great ideas about obtaining what you really want for your life.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5