Sunday, November 8, 2009
By book three the group on the quest is quite large. With so many characters the plot can't help but be complex however Eddings does a wonderful job at keeping it all together and not getting out of hand. Once again this book is packed with adventure and mystery however some of the mysteries from the previous books have been solved leaving the reader satisfied but wanting more at the same time. We have learned that there is a prophecy predicting not only the quest but also the presence of all the members on it. We also know that the group is after an orb that someone has stolen and intends to use to rise a god who has been “sleeping” for many thousands of years. Each group of people serves their own one of seven gods and most are peaceful but the god who is to be awakened seeks to cause a war that could end the world. In the first park of this book the group travels through the land of the god Mara, his land is deserted because his people where killed off and he spends his time lamenting them and their ghosts haunt whoever comes into the land to pillage. Polgara and Belgarath decide that even with the dangers this is the safest way to travel and cause a deep sleep to come over everyone so they will not be haunted by the ghosts. They try to get the god Mara to join their cause but he is too wracked with grief to listen or care. After that Polgara and Belgarath go to the land of their god to answer a summons. While there Garion practices his sorcery and learns more fundamental truths about this new power. They also learn more about what they must accomplish to put an end to the plans for war and to prevent the resurrection of the got Torak. Next they travel to the land of Ulgo where they are joined by a man who has an amazing ability that often comes in handy to help them on their quest. In the end they travel to Cthol Murgos a land full of dangers both seen and unseen where they find the orb and manage though to defeat the Magician who has taken it. Like book two this one is full of adventure and excitement but Eddings manages to keep it fresh and exciting. The dangers are always original and while they definitely belong in the world of fantasy they are not too farfetched to seem plausible in the world he has created. It was a great read and a fitting addition to the Belgariad series.
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Pawn of Prophecy, The Belgariad book One by David Eddings
Queen of Sorcery, The Belgariad book Two by David Eddings
Queen of Sorcery begins a little over a week after Pawn of Prophecy ended. Garion is struggling to come to grips with the fact that his Aunt Pol is really Polgara the Sorceress and that Mister Wolf is really Belgarath the Sorcerer. These are names that Garion has heard all his life but he figured they were storys people of fiction like the Greek gods are to us today. Garion finds it difficult to not only accept that these people exist but also that they are with him and that he is a distant relative. As he is trying to piece this together the groups adventure continues. Durnik, their blacksmith friend from Faldor's farm is still with them and has continually proved to be a valuable asset with his hard work ethic and sensible thinking which has saved them from many dangers. They are also accompanied by Silk, the wily merchant who is also a prince in disguise, and Barak cousin to a king in the north who is struggling with his own identity crisis. Hettar joins them as well along with many horses and his amazing ability to not only speak with them but understand what they are saying in return. As the story progresses they gain many more companions and a lot more trouble. They fight off several different villains both human and non-human and rescue a Princess on the run. Garion finds out more about who he is and the power he possesses. He also manages to get his revenge for the death of his parents but is shocked when he feels worse not better. After that they enter into the kingdom of Nyissa continuing on their mysterious quest chasing someone down that has stolen something important. While in Nyissa the queen kidnaps Garion and drugs him to get him to do her bidding and be her servant. All seems lost until the sky randomly darkens in the middle of the day Polgara and Barak come to the rescue with the help of Garion and his amazing power that he now able to partially control. I think I enjoyed this one more than the first book not necessarily because it was written better. Most of the characters were fully developed by this point so there was not as many meetings and background stories so it was fast paced with one adventure following another. It was an exciting read that made my mind work to find the clues hidden within it. I also found it interesting that there was a volcanic eruption that caused the sky to darken. Eddings is from the Washington state and just a few months before he wrote this book Mt. St. Helens erupted causing ash to cover everything. It was nearly impossible to see and the sky was darkened even though the sun was still up. I was a clever way to use personal experience to add to the plot of his book.
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Pawn of Prophecy, The Belgariad book One by David Edding
Magician's Gambit, The Belgariad book Three by David Eddings
A friend lent me the first three books in the Belgariad series. At first I was hesitant because I haven't been in a reading mood lately, which is odd for me. However, I picked this one up and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got into the reading mood. Pawn of Prophecy tells the story of Garion and his Aunt Pol as they are living a peaceful life at Faldor's farm. Aunt Pol was the cook and Garion spent his days with his friends enjoying the country life. Unfortunately it was not to last. An old storyteller, whom Aunt Pol called Old Wolf, came into town and that's when things started to become complicated and different. Then one night it was suddenly time to leave. Old Wolf, Aunt Pol, Garion, and their friend Durnik who was a blacksmith, snuck off to start a mysterious adventure. Along the way they meet a few more interesting friends all who have skills necessary to help them survive on this journey and accomplish the task at hand. Garion is constantly kept in the dark about things but he is observant and quick to piece things together. In the end he learns the truth about his Aunt Pol, old Wolf, and himself. He also helps stop a sinister plot to overthrow the king of a nearby kingdom. Pawn of Prophecy is packed with adventure and fun sarcastic whit that will entice anyone to keep reading. The mystery behind who Garion is will make you pick up the next book to find out more. I often found myself getting lost in the story and forgetting my life and troubles while I read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy book.
Other reviews available:
Queen of Sorcery, The Belgariad book Two by David Eddings
Magician's Gambit, The Belgariad book Three by David Eddings
Friday, November 6, 2009
I first stumbled across the Hunger Games shortly after it was published in 2008 and waited, very impatiently, for the sequel to appear. I purchased Catching Fire the day it was released and finish it closely thereafter. I loved it even more than the first book, which I didn’t even think would be possible. It begins about six months after the Hunger Games ended. Katniss has returned to district 12 but nothing was like she expected it to be. Peeta, still hurt that she was pretending to be in love, spends as little time with her as possible. Gale, also hurt by what happened during the Hunger Games, won’t really talk to her either and avoids her as well. Everyone wants to move on with life and celebrate that everyone is still alive but they must do the Victory Tour, which is where the winner of the games goes to all the districts and makes a speech, reminding those districts that they lost not only the games but two of their children as well. Another hitch in the moving on plan comes when the president of the Capitol comes to visit Katniss and tell her that he was not convinced of her love for Peeta and that he thinks she is trying to start a rebellion. She must now prove that he’s wrong on both counts while battling the capitol and in a surprising twist the other victors as well. Through a series of unbelievable events and by trusting people she barely knows Katniss not only finds the truth about the rebellion and the districts but also commits herself to a side. Catching Fire is a fabulous book further exploring the ideas of societal unrest and the amazing things that one can do with the right friends. I highly recommend it as a quick and satisfying read.
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I had an unbelievably hard time getting into this book. Even though it was only about 140 pages it took me months to read. It’s not that it’s a bad story I think it was just written so below my reading level that I had a hard time being interested. However, I think I would enjoy it if I were to read it to my children who, I’m fairly certain, would enjoy the animal characters and their adventures by the river. In the beginning we find Mole cleaning his house. He gets tired of cleaning and without any further planning leaves his house and sets off on an adventure. He makes it to the river and finds Rat who invites him to go on a picnic with him by boat. Mole is worried because he’d never been in a boat but agrees and makes an instant and lasting friend in Rat. While on the picnic they meet Badger, who is a nice enough animal but sort of anti-social. Badger admires Mole’s common sense and again Mole easily makes a new friend. Later they decide to go visit Toad. He lives in a really fancy house right on the river. They find Toad all excited about his new venture. He’d tried and failed at so many things in the past but that doesn’t keep Toad from trying new things. Cars are the current excitement in Toads life. He routinely manages to crash and break them but survives each time only to buy another and go at it again. It’s this love for cars that causes most of his problems. Toad’s friends convince him to give it up and to a point succeed until he steals a car and goes for a joy ride, which, as it should, lands him in jail. He manages to escape with the help of a washerwoman and has a few interest adventures on his way home being incredibly unruly. When he arrives home after being gone quite some time he finds his house has been taken over by weasels. Toad then goes off seeking the help of his friends. They are disappointed in the life he chose but after a quick chastisement they agree to help him get his house back. Badger plans the whole thing, Mole helped with the more subtle parts, Rat makes sure they are armed to the teeth, and Toad moans about his role in the whole thing. In the end Toad learns how to be a good friend and thankfully changes his ways. Badger, Mole, and Rat help save the day and are happily rewarded with their great friendship and a fine feast. All in all it’s an okay book. Grahame takes too many detours and subplots for my taste. He goes into great detail when a word or two would do about things that are never again mentioned in the book. It’s a great story with fun characters just not one of my favorites.
I was hesitant at first to pick this book up. The cover and summary clearly screamed boy book to me. That combined with an outdoors setting made it at the bottom of my reading list for several years. However one day I ran out of new books to read and there it was seemingly staring at me from my shelf and when I picked it up I was surprised at what I found inside. This novel recounts the story of Buck, a loyal pet dog who was taking from his master by a servant and sold to be a sled dog in the Yukon. London goes into detail about what Buck is feeling and thinking as he experiences harsh masters, frozen weather, and brutal slave labor for the first time. Buck must also learn to fall in or lead the pack of dogs he is forced to serve with to get enough food and protect himself. The frozen wasteland really comes to life as London tells the story of their travel with the hardships and quarrels that inevitably accompany it. Eventually through a mastery of skill and persistence Buck becomes the leader of his pack and gains fame throughout Canada. This fame leads him to his last owner to whom he was fiercely loyal, to the point that he would even jump into his arms over a cliff. However, Buck couldn’t suppress the call the wild had upon him. He saw a wolf one day and decided to follow it and after that returned less and less to the camp. Once he knew there was trouble but returned only to find he was too late to safe his master. After that, when he had nothing to tie him down, was he truly able to respond to the call of the wild. London tells this story of a dog so well that anyone can relate to it and enjoy themselves while reading of amazing adventures that they’re never likely to repeat. It was a fun read and I would recommend it to boys and girls of any age.
I first read this book when is was assigned in my ninth grade English class and instantly fell in love with it. As an avid reader a book about book burning seems like an odd one to love but it is so well written with so many subplots and interesting ways to analyze it that the possibilities seem endless. I have read it probably five times by now and can never seem to get enough. Guy Montag is the main character. In Montag’s world firemen find people with books, which are illegal, and not only burns those books but their homes as well. On his way home from work one day he meets Clarisse McClellan, a 17 year-old girl who questions everything and who wants to experience the simple things in life that so many forget to notice. This mindset leads Montag to wonder more than he already had about his life and where the world was going. Upon arriving home he finds his wife Mildred has, again, attempted suicide, which has become so common they have men with portable machines that come in to pump her stomach much like a carpet man would come to clean the carpet of a house.
After that Montag begins to act strangely and decides to skip work to read a book that he took from a house they were burning. Unexpectedly his boss Captain Beatty appears at his house and almost catches him. Beatty notices Montag’s change in behavior and tries to set his mind at ease telling him why they burn books. People just didn’t take the time to read anymore. They wanted everything in a shortened version. Which totally reminded me of Cliff Notes and the people who come to my review site who have a test or a report but haven’t read the book but hope to be able to pass by working off what I have done. Beatty also mentioned how the world is more connected and thus there is a bigger group of minorities to deal with than before. People couldn’t write about whatever they wanted to because someone was always getting offended. His final reason was that intellectuals do not currently run the world. Those who were not the brightest in their class tend to feel threatened by the smart kids. By banning books it kept everyone on their level. Beatty gave this speech knowing that Montag had a book hidden and gives him 24 hours to burn they book or they will do it for him.
After Captain Beatty leaves Montag takes out the books he’s hidden over the years and tries to decide which one to burn. Montag then meets with Faber. Faber is an old former lit. professor who wants to rebel but is too scared to do anything. He is shocked when Montag produces a copy of the bible, maybe the last one in that part of the world. Faber then said something that really struck me on page 81 of my copy. Speaking of the bible he said, “They’ve changed it in our ‘parlors’ these days. Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down?” They have Christ “making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.” It amazes me how often and how clearly Bradbury saw our day. That was just another example that struck me as right on the money.
Montag ends up going back into work but is shocked when the house they go to burn is his own. Several people called in to report him including his wife. Montag manages to burn his own house but in an argument with Beatty burns him too. Later he realized that Beatty wanted to die but it didn’t ease his conscience about it. Through a series of close encounters Montag manages to escape and eventually finds a group of people who go around memorizing books in the hopes that one day people will want them again and they will write them down so the world can learn from their past.
I know I more or less summarized the entire thing but it’s still worth the read to experience it. It is a truly amazing and inspired book that I have not found it’s equal in the literary world.
When I discovered the Disney movie Peter Pan was based on a book I was anxious to read. Typically I read the book first but it was an interesting experience to have it occur the other way. I was amazed while I read how closely the Disney movie stayed to the novel. There were major parts left out and the character of Peter was made to be more likeable but all in all it was much the same. The story begins with a thorough description of the Darling family and how they all came to be and how they acquired Nana, the nursemaid dog. One interesting difference is that Wendy, John, and Michael were not only gone one night but they were gone for quite some time. The books goes into detail how their parents and Nana think over the night they left and planning how they could have done things differently. The night the children left Peter came in and was tempting them to leave. Nana heard and managed to escape and run for the parents. Peter heard them coming and managed to get the children out of the house just before their parents burst into the room to stop them. Their flight to Neverland took days and days to accomplish and at times Peter would even forget they were there. When they got to Neverland everything is much the same as the movie but Wendy had her own cottage to live in outside of the tree where all the boys slept. The same adventures took place with the Indians and Captain Hook and even the capturing of the lost boys and Peter’s rescue. It was an interesting read but for once I think I prefer the movie to the book. Peter’s character in the book is a little too harsh for my taste. He seems moody and flighty but not in the fun carefree way that I’d imagined before. His uncontrollable selfishness also makes him more of a villain than someone to admire. Barrie’s writing at times also leaves something to be desired. He tends to bring himself down saying how this or that detail isn’t really important or that it’s not the best story but he might as well tell it anyway leaving me wondering if this is a draft with notes and not the real thing. I enjoyed finding the origins to one of my favorite children’s movies but I hesitate to recommend it to anyone else unless you have a burning desire to experience it first hand.
At times I feel as if my literary education is seriously lacking. I not only completed high school but I also graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s in English. Having accomplished that one would figure that I’d read my share of classics but oddly this is not so. I’ve forever felt the need to play catch-up when it comes to the classic genre. I have such a long list and the Prince and the Pauper was one that I excitedly checked off that list as I grabbed it from the shelf and I was not disappointed.
Mark Twain records the story of the Prince and the Pauper with a preface saying that it is an old story that was passed down father to son and while it may not be true it could be true. London in the 1500s brought the birth of Edward Tudor and as it happened on the same day, in a much poorer part of London, Tom Canty. Years later while Tom was wandering around the city he happened upon the palace and Prince Edward. After an incident with the guard Edward invited Tom into the palace and there they discovered how similar they were in both size and appearance. They decided to trade clothes and were both amazed at the transformation and how one could not be distinguished from the other. Forgetting how he was oddly dressed Edward left the room only to be discovered by the previously mentioned guard and he was thrown out onto the street leaving the true Prince homeless and Tom Canty in his place. Thus begins the meat of the story. We read about Edward’s adventures and how he manages to find Tom’s family and only his mother notices the difference after a strange test. Edward struggles through life as a pauper and learns a lot about his kingdom and the people he is one day to rule. With the help of a loyal protector he manages to escape Tom’s unruly father and formulate a plan to retake his kingdom. Meanwhile Tom is learning what it means to be a Prince. He quickly tires of all the pomp and ceremony. In spite of his efforts to try and correct the mistake and find the true Prince no one believes him and many are convinced he has gone mad and spend their time trying to correct his lapse in memory and manners. It is upon the death of the King and the coronation ceremony that the truth comes out and things are restored as they should be however, both boys are profoundly changed from the experience and become better in their own sphere. The Prince and the Pauper makes the reader think and question the values and ways of society. Even though it was written over one hundred years ago it is still amazingly applicable today making people think about how a simple accident of birth created two strikingly different people but being subtly switched they are much the same.
3 Willows is a companion novel to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants where the pants girls are something akin to an urban legend and have long since moved on with their lives. 3 Willows follows the summers of three girls in their early teens. Polly, Jo, and Ama. Polly had always been a bit of an outsider and marched to the beat of her own drummer. Through some crazy whim she decides that she wants to be a model and somehow convinces her artist mother to let her go to a summer modeling camp. Jo spends her summer at her family’s beach house with her mom. Her parents are having a “trial separation” basically making official what they’d been doing since her brother’s death. To keep her mind off of it Jo gets a job as a bus girl at a local restaurant and surprises herself with her newfound popularity and a fun summer with an unexpected boy. Ama signed up for a summer academic camp to further her studies and add to her future college applications. In a random twist of fate and paperwork she ends up in Wyoming at an outdoor camp the only black girl in the bunch she is convinced they did it to make the camp look more diverse. While struggling with the outdoor and having her mind set on having a bad summer Ama surprises herself by actually learning something and enjoying herself in the end, although it took getting lost and a call home to make up her mind. Meanwhile Jo comes to grips with her parent’s separation and learns, through a series of frustrating experiences, who her true friends are and what they’d do for her. Polly discovers the sad truth about her mother and that she is not model material, which is a good thing. Together they find new ways to be happy and set reachable goals. 3 Willows is a great book that teaches about how to find true happiness and what really matters in life. Brashares manages to address big topics while maintaining a fun reading experience making this a great book for any girl.
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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Love and Peaches is the fun and fitting conclusion to the Peaches books. We follow Murphy, Leeda, and Birdie though one last summer that brings their lives more heartache and changes than any of them thought possible. At the beginning of the summer none of the girls are home in Georgia. Leeda and Murphy are off to college in New York City and Birdie is in Mexico City with her boyfriend Enrico as an exchange student. While they were supposed to be doing a casual study date Birdie found an engagement ring in Enrico's backpack and was shocked when he proposed but she said yes, but she soon learned that she wasn’t ready to be engaged and in a moment of recklessness wrote a letter to Enrico and hopped on an airplane back to Georgia. Leeda and Murphy have already arrived and while Leeda deals with the death, funeral, and will reading of her late Grandmother Murphy decides to go visit Rex, her ex-boyfriend. As it turns out Leeda landed a large inheritance with an even larger responsibility. Murphy discovers how big a mistake she made leaving Rex and also the truth about her paternity, which by the way I suspected all along. Through many adventures, some expected and some unexpected the three girls learn a lot about themselves and about each other. They grow to be wonderful individuals going in directions that they didn’t think were possible. It was a well-written book full of interesting conflicts and really believable characters that can inspire young girls while keeping them thoroughly entertained.
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Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Secrets of Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Friday, September 4, 2009
She Went All The Way by Meg Cabot fits into the romance fiction genre and was published in 2002. It is recommended for adult readers.
When I first picked up this book I wondered what the title was hinting at and why the random shoe and clouds on the front. After reading it I think the title is referring to her sex life and the meaning of the shoe and clouds still escapes me. The she in the title refers to Lou Calabrese a screenwriter who made it big writing the movie Hindenburg for her struggling actor live-in boyfriend Barry, also known as Bruno di Blase. The only problem is that Bruno falls in love with his costar Greta Woolston and runs off and marries her leaving Lou bitter and alone to contemplate what went wrong. Greta, in the process of marrying Bruno, also left a boyfriend, actor Jack Townsend. The most predictable thing next would be to have Lou and Jack pair up, which is exactly what happens. However, the way this happens is quite unpredictable. Jack and Lou are on a helicopter on their way to remote Alaska and the set of a new movie in which Jack is the star and Lou the screenwriter. Unexpectedly the helicopter crashes and Jack and Lou find themselves running for their lives from crazed killers on snowmobiles. While on the run they irritate and frustrate each other and every turn then it randomly turns to lust which they satisfy in a remote cabin that they miraculously happen upon. After a good meal and a romp in the sack the two head on trying to find civilization so they can get help. In the end they find out the identity of their would be killer but not without further risking their lives and falling in love. The idea of this story was interesting and at time executed nicely but I thought it was a tad too predictable and I've never been a fan of detailed love scenes. Overall it was a quasi-entertaining read and while interesting not great.
Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot fits into the romance fiction genre and was published in 2007. It is recommended for readers ages 16 and up.
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Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot fits into the romance fiction genre and was published in 2006. It is recommended for Adult readers.
As might be expected Queen of Babble follows the story of Lizzie, a young woman who can't manage to keep her mouth shut. This inability leads her into a great deal of trouble. As her story begins we find her getting on the plane in London on a trip to see her boyfriend Andrew that she hasn't seen in three months. The only problem is that she can't remember his face. We follow her thought process, a truly random yet entertaining trail, as she encounters him and is shocked by his choice of outerwear. We then follow their time together and are shocked, along with Lizzie, at who Andrew really is and the things he asks her to do for him. When she learns he is stealing money from the government in order to pay for a better lifestyle she leaves him and hops on a train to meet her friend Shari who is working for the summer in France. On the train she meets Luke, a nice handsome boy who kindly lets her babble away about all her problems even though Lizzie tends toward over sharing. Lizzie feels comforted until she discovers that he is the son of the owner of the Chateau where she is meeting her friend. This mortifies her and it's where the story really gets interesting. Lizzie's trying to make up for running her mouth but only ends up running it more and getting into all kinds of trouble. Through luck, persistence, and amazing skill with fabric she manages to solve her problems, save a wedding, repair a once broken marriage, and find love for herself all while entertaining the reader with her amusing yet erratic thoughts. While I did enjoy this book quite a bit there were a few parts that made me uncomfortable and prompted the recommendation for adult readers. Cabot goes into quite a bit of detail when Lizzie and her boyfriend then later Luke have sex. I don't think it adds anything to the book having it in so much detail. I think the problem is genuine, especially for someone of her age group, but I think we could have used less. Otherwise it was a great read and if things like that don't bother you then pick it up and enjoy!
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Forever Princess by Meg Cabot fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2009. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.
Forever Princess is the final installment in the Princess Diaries books and was a fabulous conclusion to an overall wonderful series. It is the end of Mia's senior year and she is getting into every college she applied to, she has a dedicated boyfriend J.P. who confesses his love daily, and she has finished her senior project. Unfortunately she is still unhappy with what life has to offer. She feels she is only getting into every college because she is a princess and the colleges want the publicity so she lies to her friends telling them that she hasn't been accepted to any college. Also Mia is not in love with J.P. and only wants to be with him so she has a man while she pines away for Michael. This is further complicated by the return of Michael from Japan and their happy reconnection. Mia's senior project is surrounded by a complicated mess of lies because she is worried that people with mock her real project, a historical romance novel. On top of this she is having trouble with her family and the consequences of her big announcement we read about it “Princess Miya”. I enjoyed the plots and subplots but often found myself wondering if anyone in real life is really this dense. Throughout the novel Mia questions things that every other character and the reader seem to know for certain. For example, when Michael comes back and they have a spicy reunion in Central Park she wonders endlessly if he still has feelings for her, which is obvious to anyone else. Putting this irritating inability aside I enjoyed the rest of the novel and was happy to finally read the conclusion of the series and to learn of Princess Mia's happily ever after.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009
Princess Mia by Meg Cabot fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2008. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.
Princess Mia is basically a continuation of Princess on the Brink. It begins two hours after the last one ended. Mia is waiting for Michael to notice her email, forgive her, and then get back together. Only this doesn't happen and as a result she becomes depressed and has to see a psychologist named (really not joking here) Dr. Knutz, nice! Also her best friend Lilly is no longer friends with her because Mia kissed her ex boyfriend of a few hours J.P. She finds comfort in J.P. who has become a really good “friend”. Until he admits that he likes her, and they begin to date, which I think everyone saw coming as with most things in this particular volume of the Princess Diaries books. For example, Mia has been asked to speak at a gala for Domina Rei and while trying to find material from her ancestors she finds a diary Amelie, a princess from the 1600s who only ruled for twelve days before dying of the bubonic plague. For her speech she tells the story of Amelie and shocks the world with a decision that goes against what most of her family would ever want. There were, however, a few things that were not expected. Mia becomes friends with Lana, her former archenemy. Principal Gupta took Mia's journal away, considering how this is the main source of the story line it was totally unexpected, but the story continues on through various other means. The last thing that I didn't expect was that Kenny blew up the biology room right as J.P was confessing his love. Overall it was an alright book mostly redeemable because of the story line and not the actual application which was overly predictable and frustrating because it seems like Mia is the only one who doesn't get it sometimes.
Other Reviews of Books by Meg Cabot click here
Monday, March 16, 2009
Big Boned by Meg Cabot fits into the mystery fiction genre and was published in 2007. It is recommended for adult readers.
Big Boned is the final installment in the series that began with Size 12 Is Not Fat. In this novel Heather's life finally seems to be going the right way but still it's not exactly what she wants. Her job is going well, even though her boss is a little crazy about office supplies. She has a boyfriend named Tad, but he doesn't agree with her on fundamentals like the consumption of meat and good old television. Heather is also working on getting into shape, but when jogging she feels as if her uterus may become dislodged. Then one morning after a “workout” with Tad she walks into work to find her boss murdered and inevitably gets involved in the investigation around his murder. As always Cooper is there concerned about her and taking care of her. Tad is also there for her but Heather begins to think that he is not exactly what she had in mind. As the story progresses Heather finds herself helping everyone out of one type of jam or another. In the end she finds love when she comes up with an answer to Tad's big question. She also is able to catch her boss's killer and in typical Heather fashion almost gets killed herself.
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Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot fits into the romance fiction genre and was published in 2005.
Every Boy's Got One is the most recent installment to the Boy series. One again we meet a whole new set of characters with minor mentioning of the old ones. This story centers around Jane Harris and Cal Langdon. Jane is a cartoonist credited with the creation of Wondercat an internationally recognized comic strip. Cal is a reporter with the New York Journal who recently made a very large book deal. They meet through their friends Holly and Mark whom they accompany to Italy where Cal is the best man and Jane is the Maid of Honor in their elopement. Jane and Cal don't get the best of starts. Jane labeled him as Cell Phone guy because when she first sees him he is grumpily and endless at it with his blackberry. Cal sees Jane as an eccentric bottled water drinker with an odd obsession for writing in her travel journal. It gets worse when they find that they don't agree on whether or not Holly and Mark should get married. Jane is all for it because they seem so in love and perfect for each other. Cal however, as a result from being jilted by his wife on their first anniversary, has an unfavorable view of marriage and tries but never gets the opportunity to talk Mark out of it. Slowly however Jane and Cal begin to find positive traits about the other and Cal finds that not only was he wrong about Mark's marriage but that maybe he ideas about marriage in general were a little jaded. In the end, after jumping through many hoops, Holly and Mark end up happy and Jane and Cal surprise themselves with happiness as well. Overall a pretty good book but I recommend it with some reservations. For some unknown reason when writing for adults Cabot feels the need to infuse her novels with foul language and sexual dialog. One would assume from the cover that the One, in every boy's got one, is referring to his heart, but with the way that Jane and Holly got on about Cal's supposedly large appendage one might infer that it is the appendage that the title is referring to. Otherwise it is a good book with a fun and interesting plot making it much better than book two of the series.
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The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot
Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot
Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot fits into the romance fiction genre and was published in 2004. It is recommended for adult readers.
Boy Meets Girl is the second book in the Boy series but it is nothing like the first. For one thing it does not, as you would expect from books in a series, continue with the same characters. They main characters are casually mentioned as the book progresses but that is all. In this book we follow some of the lesser explored of the first book. We are also introduced to Kate Mackenzie who is an employee of the New York Journal's Human Resources Division. She works under Amy Jenkins (the HR devil we were introduced to in the first novel) whom Kate has aptly nicknamed the T.O.D, short for Tyrannical Office Despot. The T.O.D. is making Kate fire Ida Lopez, the highly popular dessert lady for the senior staff dining room, because Ida refused to give the T.O.D.'s boyfriend, Stuart Hertzog (a lawyer for the firm that represents the Journal), a piece of pie. Kate tries to convince the T.O.D. that this was an unreasonable reason to fire someone and tried to get her to pass it of as a warning but the T.O.D. would not be persuaded. Thus, in order to not lose her job, Kate fires Ida only to be sued later for wrongful termination. During the deposition Kate is met with quite a surprise in the form of Mitch Hertzog, brother to the aforementioned Stuart and the lawyer in charge of representing the case for Kate and the Journal. What follows can only be labeled as drama, drama, drama, and not in a good way. Kate feels bad about firing Ida and stresses about it constantly, that and the fact that she likes Mitch but thinks he is only a scummy lawyer. Mitch and Stuart get into it over random family troubles and also a disagreement over the Ida Lopez case. All the various minor characters seem to be having issues of their own that Cabot feels the need to go into ad nauseum. This coupled with a ridiculous tendency toward using foul language makes this my least favorite Cabot book ever.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot fits into the romance mystery fiction genre and was published in 2002. It is recommended for adult readers.
The Boy Next Door is an addictive story told through a series of emails with various senders and recipients. In these emails we learn about Melissa Fuller (Mel) and her previously disastrous love life. We also read about Mel's neighbor Mrs Friedlander and the events surrounding her mysterious attack that left her in a coma. After the attack John Trent, as a favor to his friend Max Friedlander, came to help with Mrs. Friedlander's pets and, as per Max's request, posed as Max. John raises suspicion by insisting that Mel call him John and by not living up to Max's bad boy reputation. What follows is an interesting story of love and mystery that truly captured my attention in a single sitting read.
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The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad fits into the mystery fiction genre and was published in 1907. It is recommended for adult readers.
The Secret Agent was good but not at all what I expected. It follows the story of Adolf Verloc and his attempt to blow up the Greenwich Observatory. Verloc is a secret agent for the French Embassy in London and while he was previously invaluable to the Embassy he has grown redundant of late and was urged to do something big that would embarrass the British and give his employers the opportunity to inspire a revolution. He was told to strike at something scientific as that was the fad of the day. After much worrying and thinking upon the subject he finally decided to take some action. Nothing goes as planned leading to many deaths and the loss of everything he had. Nothing he did actually inspired a revolution.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2006. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.
How To Be Popular is a fun and creative twist on the typical story of a teenage girl, Steph Landry. Steph was made infamous after she spilled a cherry Super Big Gulp on the white skirt of the most popular girl in school, five years ago. She still hasn't been able to live it down and to make matters worse in her small town whenever anyone does something stupid the most popular comeback has become, “Way to pull a Steph.” One day while helping her friend's Grandmother clean out her attic Steph finds a book with the helpful title, How To Be Popular. She follows the advice in this book, with a few minor updates, and is amazed at how quickly her social status changes from loser to popular. Now she has to decide which is more important, her new popularity or her character and principles. Steph also learns the true meaning of friendship and how a true friend is more important than popularity. Of course, as with all Meg Cabot books, there is the boy factor. Steph gets who she wants only to wonder why it was that she wanted him in the first place. Overall I really enjoyed this book. Starting out each of the chapters is a quote from The Book (as Steph refers to How to be Popular). They are so funny, and mostly true I think. The novel's plot mixed with the fun Cabot whit makes me willing to recommend it to anyone for a quick and entertaining read.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Seeing Redd exceeded my expectations not because I didn't expect it to be good but simply because I forgot how good The Looking Glass Wars was. Beddor captures readers with such an interesting story line and imaginative twists on well-known characters. This novel picks up a few months after the last one ended where Redd and the Cat jumped into the Heart Crystal. They are unsure if Redd and the Cat survived the trip since no one had previously had the nerve to jump in. Alyss is trying hard to reestablish peace in her Queendom but struggles with people set in their ways after Redd's thirteen year reign. Alyss learns that Redd is not her only enemy and has to use previously unimagined powers of destruction that may very well leave them all in ruin. Also, along the way, her and Dodge firm up their feeling for each other but struggle with what it will mean if they decide to have a relationship. Overall it was a very well written book and I repeated mentioned to my husband how much I like these books and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who likes fantasy fiction.
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The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Monday, January 19, 2009
Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card fits into the juvenile science fiction genre and was published in 2005. It is recommended for readers ages 16 and up.
Shadow of the Giant is, as far as I know, the last book in the subseries that began with Ender's Shadow. It follows the story of the battle school graduates as they try to gain control of the countries of the earth or as they try to create peace. The book follows the stories of Bean, Petra, and Peter Wiggin the closest. We learn the fate of the embryos that were created for Bean and Petra and the challenges that this fate brings to them. We also learn about Peter's role as the Hegemon and what he plans to do with this title and how it will affect the world. Other Battle School graduates like: Virlomi, Han Tzu (Hot Soup), and Alai are also followed in great detail as they lead India, China, and the Muslim worlds respectively. Overall I really enjoyed this book but it was also a bit difficult. At times I had to think entirely too much, in my opinion, to keep up with the plot line and who all the characters were. This is probably mostly due to the fact that I haven't read the other Ender books for so long that I had a hard time remembering who the people even were. It was a fascinating portrayal of the events that shaped the battle school children in to powerful world leaders. I would recommended this book to anyone who liked the previous Ender books but make sure you at least review the plot from the previous books first.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot fits into the murder mystery fiction genre and was published in 2006. It is recommended for adult readers.
Size 14 Is Not Fat Either like its prequel Size 12 Is Not Fat is recommended for adult readers because of the age of the characters involved and not because of any inappropriate content. There are a very few pages near the end of the book that use the F-word more than I'd care for but other than that it is a really clean book. One of my friends complained that it started out too much like the first book so she didn't want to read it. I'll admit they are fairly similar but just like most books in a series are and not overly alike. Basic plot: Heather still works at the dorm and has a new boss to replace the psycho killer from the previous book. They find a head in the cafeteria but not the rest of the body and Heather is determined to stay out of this case. However, she keeps learning things from her residents and ends up unable to quell her interest and starts to investigate. In the end she does help find the killer but winds up in the hospital as well. The one and only thing I was disappointed with in this book was that more didn't happen with her and Cooper. Heather actually gets up the nerve to talk to him about her feelings but that's as far as they get. I eagerly awaited this book hoping that there would be at least some resolution there but maybe in Big Boned, the last book of the series, they'll finally figure things out.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson fits into the preteen fantasy fiction genre and was published in 2004. It is recommended for readers ages 10 and up.
Peter and the Starcatchers was written as a prequel to the classic Peter Pan by James Barrie. It tells the story of how Peter came to Neverland, how he met Captain Hook, and the creation of Tinkerbell. For some reason although I'd heard nothing but great reviews for this book I wasn't excited to pick it up. The first one hundred and fifty pages seemed to drag on forever. Then something happened. I don't know if it was that the plot got more interesting or I just got more interested but the last 250 pages just breezed by. I was not only captivated but I am excitedly waiting my opportunity to read the rest of the series. However, I do think they went a little overboard in some places of the book trying to explain everything in the world. Apparently they feel that “starstuff” was the source of every major war, mythological gods (like Zeus), and creatures from mermaids to the Loch Ness Monster. Overall I did think it was a great book with a fantastic story and it gave a lot of fun background information to a story I already know and love.
Jinx by Meg Cabot fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2007. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.
Meg Cabot is my favorite author for teenage girls. I love her captivating writing style and wit. I have an entire shelf of books devoted to her writing. That being said I think that Jinx far outweighed my expectations and is probably her best work. The novel tells the story of Jean, an Iowa farm girl who moves to New York to escape some bad luck in her past. Living with her mom's sister, Jean learns about herself, her past, and the truth behind her crazy cousin's antics. Jean is a descendant of an apparent witch and she and her cousin Tory both try their hands at witchcraft. Tory takes the whole thing very seriously and thinks that she is the only proper heir of magic and tries to ruin Jean's new life in New York. Along the way Jean also meets a boy who convinces her of her worth and in the end saves her life. Overall I'd say it was a great book with a fun twist from Cabot's usual girl meets boy writing.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2008. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.
I first heard of Hunger Games from Stephenie Meyer's website where she recommended it to all her readers. I thought that was interesting and I put it on my list of books to read at some future date. Then a friend of mine left a comment on my blog telling me I should go pick it up and that she couldn't get the story out of her head so I decided to give it a go. I was quickly captivated and devoured this book. The story follows Katniss as she competes for her life in the Hunger Games. These games are run once a year and a boy and a girl from each of the twelve districts compete not only for their lives but also for a comfortable and luxurious future. Katniss must use all of her talents to win but even that at times isn't enough because of her loving nature that got her into the games in the first place when she volunteered to take the place of her little sister who was originally chosen to play. It was a mesmerizing story that I, like my friend, still can't get out of my head and I eagerly await the publication of the sequel.
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