Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Shelby N, bookworm extraordinaire

Most fairy tale retellings that are on the bookshelves of the nation are exactly that.  They are retellings.  Sometimes you cannot even tell what fairy tale the author started out with.  Not with Shannon Hale!  Instead of retelling a fairy tale, she creates one.

As you can guess from the title, the story Mrs. Hale chose to retell is 'The Goose Girl'.  This story takes place in the fictional cities of Bayern and Kildenree.  The main character is the Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, or just Ani or Isi.  The story tells of her journey, not just to a foreign land, but also of her journey into finding herself.  Ani grows up with birds and horses as her friends, as she can converse with them.

After having her mother rob her of her right as future queen, she is sent to distant Bayern to marry a Prince she has never met.  True to the original story, Ani's lady-in-waiting over powers Ani, and tells the King and Prince of bayern that she is the Crown Princess, leaving Ani as a goose girl.  With the help of many new friends, who know her as Isi, some geese, an unexpected love, and her newfound powers over wind, Ani defeats her lady-in-waiting and reclaims her title of Princess.

'The Goose Girl' is not a fairy tale retelling in which the plot barely resembles the original story.  Instead, it dives into the story and deepens the plot.  The original tale may leave readers asking 'Why?' or 'How?'.  Mrs. Hale fixes these problems with imaginative ideas.  One thing I did not like about the original 'Goose Girl' was that the prince Ani weds loves the false Princess, but the minute she is charged of being a traitor, loves the real Princess.

Mrs. Hale cleverly comes up with a solution!  Whereas many fairy tale retellings I have read are sometimes choppy to read, this wonderful story is easy to read.  With beautiful sentences, strong characters, and a wonderful plot, this is a must read for all fans of fantasy!

Market: Young Adult
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Death
This is a review I did for a site called Bookshop Talk, though it is entirely written by me. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Two Princesses of Bamarre   Amazon Description
 Gail Carson Levine here creates a fairy tale of her own and gives it a characteristic grrrl-power twist. Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys--along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending. Young fans of princess stories will gobble this one up.

This is a very good book.  The funny thing is, it started out as 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses', though does not resemble it.  In her book 'Writing Magic', Gail Carson Levine shows some beginnings before she got the actual story.  One is:
'Fable has multiplied us.  Perhaps the hall of mirrors we dance in is to blame.  Instead of twenty-for, we were only six.  Three princesses.  Three princes.  There was always one soldier.  Fable did not multiply him.  Fable couldn't, not such a one as he.'

Another is:  'I am Bella, the princesses nanny, and this is the princesses tale.  I know some of it because I was there.  The rest I pieced together afterward.'  There is actually a Bella in the printed novel.

This is a wonderful story.  Lovers of 'Ella Enchanted' should read it, if they already have not.

Market: A
Sensuality: None/Mild
Language: None
Violence: Mild
Adult Themes: Death.  A whole lot of death.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

Secondhand CharmAmazon Description
Berry's latest fantasy novel is laced with romance, intrigue, and adventure. Evie Pomeroy, 16, lives in the small village of Maundley with her grandfather. Her parents, both physicians, died during an influenza epidemic when she was just a baby. Evie herself is the village healer, all of her knowledge gleaned from her parents' old medical textbooks. When she is offered a scholarship to attend the university, she eagerly accepts. But the journey to Chalcedon is fraught with danger both on land and at sea. Along the way, new friends are made and astonishing secrets are revealed about Evie's heritage and special powers. And this is just the beginning.... Evie is a likable heroine who will capture readers' imagination. The secondary characters, though not as developed, provide the protagonist with suitable, and sometimes surprising, enemies and allies. The many plot elements are deftly woven together into a novel sure to please fans of Berry's Amaranth Enchantment.

This is a great book.  It follows Evie, on her way to become a physician at the royal academy.  However, through twists and turns, she ends up bridesmaid to the future queen, who just so happens to share Evie's past.  I did not know what was going to happen.  Each surprise was really and truly a surprise.  It wasn't easy to figure out.  The plot was complicated, but not hard to read.

The one aspect of the story I did not find satisfactory was the end.  Evie, and the guy she likes (I'm not telling who!) parents get married, kind of making them brother and sister.  Oh, and my favorite character?  That would have to be Clair.

Market: YA
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Language: None
Adult Themes: Death, Murder

To learn more about Julie Berry, go to: http://www.julieberrybooks.com/index.html

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Awesome Blog For Writers

My Photo  For all you writers out there, check out Gail Carson Levine's blog.  Not only is she an amazing author, but she writes great blog's for all authors/writers.  She takes questions from blog readers and then answers them.  If the question is one you hae, or even if it isn't, this is a great tesource for writers!  Here is the link: http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/  I'd suggest checking it out even if you aren't a writer!

Also, did you know June is 'bathroom reading' month (yeah, it is a bit late).  No, really.  Here is a link I stole off of the blog I talked about above, proving that June is really 'bathroom reading' month!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Video Friday: Are You Ready For The Summer?

This blog is all about books.  But every once in a while on Friday I am going to post a few of my favorite videos.  And this video leaves me asking one question:  Are you ready for the summer?

I hope you liked it!  I am definitely ready for the summer!

UPDATE:  Click here to see a review by me on another blog!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Jessica Day George Marathon Comes To A Close

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsI love Jessica Day George's books!  They are amazing, awesome, wonderful, great, and perfectly perfect.  If you notice, I gave ALL of her books five stars.  Seriously, if you haven't read them, go out and buy/rent/borrow them.

Unfortunantly, I have reviewed all of her books.  But luckily, her first children's novel, 'Tuesdays at the Castle', will be out on October 11, 2011.  Click here to learn more.

Amazon's Complete Selection of Jessica Day George Books
To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

                                                                                              Amazon Description
Dragon Spear (Dragon Slippers)In this follow-up to Dragon Slippers (2007) and Dragon Flight (2008), seamstress Creel is preparing for her wedding to Prince Luka, surrounded by beloved dragon friends, when Velika, a dragon queen, is kidnapped. All nuptial plans are postponed as the couple searches for Velika, whose pregnancy heightens the urgency of the rescue. As in the previous series titles, George creates richly satisfying fantasy realms, from opulent palaces to forest lairs, while the tender romances, genuine friendships, rapid dialogue, and thrilling adventures will continue to delight readers. Newcomers will find some background explanations, but this is best for series fans.

In this book, Creel and Luka are visiting their dragon friends on the Far Isles, when Velika is kidnapped by a smaller, dull-colored dragon who they thought to be their friend.  They travel across the sea to an uncharted,  unheard  of island.  There they have to do everything they can to save the queen of the dragons, even if it means Shardas using alchemy. (Alright, that last bit anyone who has not read the book won't understand.  Isn't that even more incentive to read it?)

This book was so good!  But it is also sad.  No, the book is not sad, contrary to what I just said.  What is sad is that this book is is the LAST IN THE DRAGON SERIES!  *Sob*.  It was an amazing book.  I liked 'Peder No-People'!  I am not going to tell you who that is, but be on the look out for him!
I thought this book was a great end for a wonderful trilogy!  With romance, adventure, fun, and dragons, this is a amazing book!

Market: YA
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Language: None
Adult Themes: Death, Love, Marriage,

To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

Dragon Flight (Dragon Adventures)Amazon DescriptionIn this lively sequel to Dragon Slippers (Bloomsbury, 2007), plucky heroine Creel is again plunged into adventure. Citatie, a country in the south, has declared war on Feravel, and the soldiers are sure to succeed because they will be mounted on hundreds of dragons enslaved or bred for combat. Creel, an enterprising dressmaker and Feravel's resident expert on these winged beasts, begs the king to allow her to enlist the help of local dragons to try and stop the attack. She works with her friend Marta, a mute soldier named Tobin (Marta's fiancĂ©), and Prince Luka (Creel's love interest)—and several winged comrades—to discover the true power behind Citatie's dragon force and to try to and save her homeland. This medieval fantasy, reminiscent of works by Patricia C. Wrede or Gail Carson Levine, is fast paced and entertaining, and filled with honorable, evil, and quirky characters—both human and dragon. Creel and Marta are both headstrong and enterprising, and their escapades make for an engaging read.

Book two in the dragon series!  In my opinion it is just as good!  It follows all off the same characters, and has a few new dragons!  This time the setting is Citatie.  And the reason is a white dragon, who has a mysterious past...and a secret connection to Shardas, Creel's dragon friend, and king of the dragons.

I love this book!  Creel's dress shop is open, Marta is fretting over her TWO wedding dresses, and then Creel gets a letter from Luka, telling of a army of hundreds of dragons in Citatie.  And the dragon army is planning on attacking Fereval.

Action, fun, romance, adventure, and of course, dragons, this is a GREAT book.

Market: YA
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Language: None
Adult Themes: Death, Love, Marriage,

To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

Monday, June 20, 2011

East Review. On Another Blog.

EastHi!  Yes, this is another break in my JDG marathon.  But again it is for a good reason.  'Bookshop Talk', one of my favorite sites, has a review of East by Edith Pattou.  And it is written by none other than me!  Click here to see it!

It is also a retelling of  'East of the Sun, West of the Moon'!

UPDATE:  This has nothing to do with the east review, but today (6/20/2011)  I just got two new books:)  They are 'My Unfair Godmother' by Janette Rallison and 'Captured'  by Maggie L. Wood!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Zoe-Trope Blog Giveaway

Hi everyone! (And by everyone I mean the nine AWESOME followers I have!)  I am taking a break in my Jessica Day George marathon to give you some awesome news.  Zoe Marriott, author of the wonderful books, 'The Swan Kingdom' and 'Daughter of the Flames', and the soon to be released ,'Shadows on the Moon' is having a giveaway on her blog, and the prizes are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Any fan of fantasy should check it out!  (All of her books are YA.)  Here is the link:  http://thezoe-trope.blogspot.com/
What a perdy cover.  I love it!

My Books

Oooh, fire-y

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Dragon Slippers

Amazon Description
Creel, the heroine of Dragon Slippers is hardly a damsel-in-distress. After her aunt totes her out to the local dragon in desperation (with the hope that the local prince will rescue her from certain death and marry her), Creel refuses the haughty prince and finds friendship with the dragons, who set her on a journey to the center of the kingdom with a pretty pair of what only seem to be ordinary slippers. Along the way we discover Creel’s enormous talent at embroidery, and you can’t help but linger over the rich descriptions of her lovely tapestry-like gowns, which quickly make her the most sought-after dressmaker in the kingdom. But soon enough those mysterious slippers begin to wreak havoc, and it’s up to Creel to save the kingdom from disaster and defend the dragons from certain doom. Creel’s feisty spirit breathes fiery new life into this epic world at every turn, making this one of the most memorable and fun fantasy debuts to hit shelves since Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart.

Dragons!  Who can't resist picking up a book about dragons?  Especially when the cover is that beautiful.  Sure, I know what people say.  Don't judge a book by it's cover.  But I do.  A beautiful cover makes me pick it up, just like a good name or cover flap.  Yes, I  have read wonderful books with ugly covers, or awful books with beautiful covers.  But in my opinion, pretty covers make the reader look at the book, where the actual book makes the reader love them.  Not only does 'Dragon Slippers' have a great cover, but it is a WONDERFUL story.

When Creel's Aunt leaves her at a dragon's cave, she (the aunt) is hoping that a noble will come and save Creel.  But Creel talks her way out of being eaten...And her way into getting a piece of the dragon's hoard.  But to her surprise, this dragon doesn't hoard gold.  Nope, instead he hoards shoes.  So, equipped with her new shoes, a bit of thread and cloth, and the clothes on her back, she sets out to become a dressmaker in King's Seat.  But along the way, she is attacked by bandits.  And saved...by a glass window falling from the sky.

With adventure, romance, action, fantasy, and fun, this is a great book.  And don't worry about the cliffhanger end.  There are two more books in the series!

(I just want to say that this review covers like, a third of the book.  So read it to find out the rest!)

Market: YA
Violence: Mild
Sensuality: None/Mild
Adult Content: Death, Love

To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by Jessica Day George

Amazon Description
Unnamed and rejected by her mother, a girl (known as the lass) jumps at the chance to leave her meager home after a great white bear offers her a deal: if she accompanies him to his ice palace for a year and a day, he will reward her and her family with wealth. At the palace, she is waited on by an odd assortment of creatures, including salamanders and a selkie, but there are sinister undercurrents beneath the luxury, leading to a series of horrifying deaths. George has adapted Norse myths and fairy tales to create this eerily beautiful, often terrifying world in which animals talk, trolls marry humans only to destroy them, and weather forces are actual characters. Mystery, adventure, the supernatural, and a touch of love are woven together to create a vivid, well-crafted, poetic fantasy for readers who have enjoyed works by Robin McKinley and Esther Friesner or who are ready to move from Gail Carson Levine’s fairy-tale adaptations to more sophisticated fare.

I love this book, for more than just being awesome.  The reason I love it is because of the fairy tale it is based off of.  The fairy tale is called 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon', and I had never heard of it before I read this book.  For all of you who have never heard of it, here is a short sumerization:  Nameless girl goes with bear to save her family from poverty, someone sleeps with her each night, finds out it is bear, goes east of the sun and west of the moon to save him from the troll queen.  And now on to the book.

When she was born a girl, our protagonist's mother doesn't name her.  And as it is the mothers job to name children, she is just called 'Lass'.  Living in an impoverished family, she agrees to live with a poler bear, or isbjorn, for a year.  She travels on his back to his palace.  Every night someone sleeps in her bed.  When she finds out it is the isbjorn, turned human at night, the troll princess kidnaps him.  Lass must then travel east of the sun, west of the moon to save him.  (hmmm, that sounds a lot linke the original tale.)

With mystery, romance, adventure, fantasy, and a 'Beauty and the Beast' feel this is a wonderful book.  And I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to ride a polar bear?

I want it!!!!!

We own this picture, except bigger

So cute. 
Market: YA
Violence: None/Mild
Sensuality: Mild (even though someone sleeps with her the bed is REALLY big)
Language: None
Adult themes: Death, love
To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Princess of GlassAmazon Description
On the heels of the success of Princess of the Midnight Ball (2009), George's sequel follows one sister, Poppy, to Breton. While staying with her Seadown cousins, Poppy's eye is caught by Christian, the Crowne Prince of Danelaw, and a romance begins to bud. But a maid in the Seadowns' home, Eleanora, somehow manages to get a gown and attend the ball, appearing to cast a spell over the men in attendance. In a clever reworking of the Cinderella story, George once again proves adept at spinning her own magical tale.

As you can see above, I give this book five stars!!!!  This is the sequel to 'Princess of the Midnight Ball'!  Although I gave 'Princess of the Midnight Ball' five stars, I like 'Princess of Glass' much better.  The main character of 'Princess of Glass' is Rose's younger sister Poppy, now sixteen.  Poppy is feisty, sassy, sweet, mischievous, and yet kind.  As part of the "royal exchange" program, she goes to her cousins the Seadown's house in Breton.  Their she meets Christian... Crown Prince Christian of Danelaw.  This book is a retelling of Cinderella, with the Seadown's maid Ellen as the namesake of the Cinderella fairy-tale.  Through twists and turns Jessica Day George shapes a beloved fairy-tale into a beautiful novel.

This is a MUST read for lovers of fantasy.  Even though it is a sequel, it could easily be a stand alone.  Jessica Day George takes Cinderella to a whole new level.  What if the fairy godmother was evil?  And why did the prince immediately love Cindy?  I love this book so much!!  If you haven't read it, go buy or rent it immediately!!!  You won't be disappointed! 

With romance, action, adventure, and fantasy, this novel has something for everyone!

Market: YA
Violence: Mild
Sensuality: Mild
Language: None
Adult Content: Death, love

To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

                                                                                             Amazon Description
Princess of the Midnight BallThe Brothers Grimm tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses is vibrantly retold and set in a fictionalized nineteenth-century Europe. Galen, a soldier (and knitter) returning home from war, encounters an old woman who gives him an invisibility cloak and yarn possessing magical powers. While working as a gardener at the palace, he encounters the princess, Rose, and her 11 younger sisters. Because of a secret bargain their mother made with the evil King Under Stone, the princesses are cursed to dance each night till their shoes are worn ragged. Aided by the good magic held in his yarn, Galen solves the puzzle that has stumped many a prince and earns Rose’s love and hand in marriage. Though cursed and in need of rescue, the sisters are feisty and cunning—not passive victims of their fate. Galen’s magical knitting patterns will appeal to teens fond of this trendy hobby. This is a well-realized and fast-paced fantasy-romance that will find favor among fans of fairy tales, feisty heroines and dashing young men with strength, cunning, and sensitivity.

This book is one of my all time favorites.  It was the first book I read by this author, and I fell in love with her beautiful writing.  'Princess of the Midnight Ball' is a fresh look on the fairy tale 'The Worn-out Dancing Slippers'.  It takes place in the early 19th century, in a fictional town based off of Germany.  One of the main characters is Rose, eldest of twelve sisters, all of whom are forced to dance every night based on a deal their mother made with a sorcerer.  The second leading character is Galen, a young man who has lived all his life on the battlefield.  When the war finally ends, he goes to his only remaining family-who just happen to work at the palace.                                                                                                                                            

What makes this book so wonderful is the amazing way the author changes the fairy tale into a reasonable story.  One thing I did not love about the original fairy tale is the nightly dances.  Who are these princes?  Why do the princesses sneak out every night just to dance?  And how do they sneak out, with their rooms heavily guarded and locked each night?  With clever ideas, Jessica Day George shapes a fairy tale full of questions into a marvelous tale of love and adventure.                                                                                

I'd tell any lover of romance, fantasy, or history to pick up this wonderful novel!!!                                         
                                                                Market:  Young Adult
Violence: Mild/Moderate
Sensuality: Mild (main characters get married at the end)
Language: none
Adult content: death, love,

To learn more about Jessica Day George, go to: http://www.jessicadaygeorge.com/

UPDATE:  I think I am going to do a Jessica Day George book review marathon.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First Post and My Bookshelf

This is my FIRST post on this new blog made by ME!!!  As you can probably see by the title and the picture I have attached, this post is partly about my bookshelf.  My blog will normally have book reviews, but to start of, I will post the contents of my bookshelf.  I will review a lot of these books.  They are in alphabetical order by the author's last name (like a library).  And so here they are:

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Ballet
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Person
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Beacon Street Girls, 13, 14, and 16, by Annie Bryant
The Sisters Grimm, 1, 2, 5, 7, and 8, by Micheal Buckley
The Gideon Trilogy, 1-3, by Linda Buckley-Archer
The Hunger Games, 1-3, by Suzanne Collins
Entwined by Heather Dixon
The Extra-Ordinary Princess by Carolyn Ebbitt
The Mother Daughter Book Club, 1 and 3, by Heather Frederick
Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner
Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
The Companions Quartet by Julia Golding
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Pandora Gets series, 2, 3, 4, and 5, by
Goddess Girls series, book 4, by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
Castle in the Sky by Diana Wynne Jones
The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
The Fairy Path 1-4 by Frewin Jones
The Clockwork Three by Mathew Kirby
Scumble by Ingrid Law
The Last Girls of Pompeii by Kathryn Lasky
Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky
The Agency, 1 and 2, by Y.S. Lee
The Two Princesses of Bamare by Gail Carson Levine
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Twilight Saga, 1-4, plus The short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
Kiki Strike, 1 and 2, by Kristin Miller
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Fablehaven, 1, 2, and 3, by Brandon Mull
Violet in Bloom by Lauren Myracle
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Avolon, Circle of magic, 1-7 by Rachel Roberts
Harry Potter, 1-7, by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Schulman
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart
Theatre Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Dancing Shoes By Noel Streatfeild
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Gaurdian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
And that is the contents on my bookshelf.  My nest post will be a book review, most likely on Princess of The Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George!