Sunday, April 28, 2013

Books... books everywhere... BOOK HAUL

Soooooo, I went up to the city yesterday and went to a total of four stores, a goodwill, two thrifty stores, and a used book store. I got a total of thirteen books. THIRTEEN. In one day! I'm not sure about your buying routines with books, but that's a lot for me in one day.

I'll just briefly talk about some of the books I'm most excited about. I'm really happy that I found "Between Shades of Gray" and "Beautiful Creatures" at the thrift store, because I've already read them, and they are some of my all time favorites, but I either read them at the library or on my ereader, so I'm so happy to have the physical version. 

Some of the other books though, like "A Storm of Swords" and "A Clash of Kings", I didn't plan on reading or buying, but just couldn't possibly pass them up. Even though I don't own (or have read) "A Game of Thrones", I'm still really excited to pick them up and read them. 

I found The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and am already currently reading it. It's amazing how a piece of non-fiction reads like fiction. Sometimes life turns out that way I guess.

Hope you all will have a marvelous week and happy reading!!

Miss Book Reader

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Thoughts on- Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted
by Gail Carson Levine

 At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you'll ever read.

Gail Carson Levine's examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.

My Thoughts-

I would like to start a new series of reviews on my blog. Whenever I do a book review, it's on a book I've read for the first time, and I give you my initial thoughts on it and tell you whether I do or don't recommend it, whereas, with a thoughts on "review" it's on a book I've re-read and it will consist of me discussing the book further and maybe explaining why I love it so much. 

So as this is my first "Thoughts on" review, I decided to discuss one of my all-time favorites, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. As you can tell from the summary, this is a retelling of Cinderella and is, in fact, my favorite fairytale novel out there.

Every time I read it (yes I have read it more than twice), I fall in love with the writing, the characters, the story, the setting, and the message it gives. It's amazing that a novel that is written so simplistic (another reason why I love it) can be so powerful, and so effecting. 

The story is told from 1st person, which enables us to really get inside the head of Ella and understand her as person and what she is going through, but the other characters aren't lacking at all. You get to understand the "evil" stepsisters and their motives, along with the Prince "Charming" or rather, Prince Charmont. 

When I read this book for the first time, I was struggling with personal problems. I had just been taken out of public school (after I moved cross country) and started homeschooling. It wasn't easy, because I had no friends where I was, and was very sensitive about my personality. When I read about Ella and how she didn't let the curse hold her back or how she hated to be manipulated, it was such an inspiration to me, and a comfort to me as well. I credit this book for giving me some of the traits I have today. 

Another thing I just have to talk about, is how wonderful this is a retelling, just in general! I love the fairytale Cinderella, but we all know, there are major plot holes in the story.

"Why is Cinderella so obedient?" "Why doesn't she do something with her life?" "How is it that the Prince and Cinderella fell in love in just one night?"

These are just SOME of the questions I had when reading or watching the classic story. They are all wonderfully explained in Ella Enchanted, and the story was so wonderfully told that I loved Ella ten times more than I ever loved Cinderella. 

The last thing I wanted to address was the romance. I'm a sucker for romance. Give me a guy and a gal, through they together, and you've pretty much just made my life. 
However, I can't stand "instalove" which is not only ridiculous but very unrealistic. And the Prince and Cinderella's relationship screams out instalove. But in Ella Enchanted, the love story flows so nicely, because it isn't about the romance. The book is about Ella trying to break the curse, and in the process she falls in love with probably the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, humorous, and princely Prince's out there. Prince Char. There relationship builds on and on until it hits that point where all I can do is just scream with delight into my pillow. And the letter where Char describes his feelings is probably my favorite love quotes of all time. 

Over all, this book is just perfection. I've often wished that I could go back in time and read it for the first time just to have that fresh experience with it once more. But do not think this a book that gets boring as you re-read it. I've read it probably a dozen times and I love it even more every time. 

That's all for now.

Miss Book Reader

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review- Princess of the Midnight Ball

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Princess #1) 

by Jessica Day George

Goodreads Summary- 

A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn… 

Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above. 

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.

My Thoughts-

This review will be short and quick (much like the book). "Princess of the Midnight Ball" is a retelling of the popular The Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale. It focuses on our two main characters, Galen, a soldier returning from war and Rose, the eldest of twelve princesses who are cursed to dance every night from midnight till dawn until their mother's debt is paid off. 

So how was this book? Was it good? Very good? Bad? Not so good? I thought this book was a very good fantasy romance, that does the job of taking your mind off of things while you read it. It's not thought-provoking, it's not the best written book out there, but it was enjoyable. There were flaws, but I was willing to over look them and continue on with the story. 

Some of the flaws I did notice...

- The biggest flaw that I saw was that all the princesses melded together and weren't distinctive enough. I was very disappointed with that. It is understandable, far too many book fall under this illness. I still enjoy them, but not as much. For me the only sister's that really stood out were three, Lily, Rose, and Poppy. That's three out of twelve... (I'm looking at you Jessica. Hope this improves in the other books)

- Rose got a tad annoying. Not so much that I wanted to punch her in the face, but enough to make me sigh and shake my head whilst reading. She was a flat character in my opinion, we didn't really know any of her interests or dreams, except that she likes to walk in the garden. She also reminding me too much of a "damsel in distress" waiting for her "prince charming". She would cry and complain about the curse (which is understandable, after all I would probably do the same thing), but wouldn't try to break it or find a way out. She would just admit defeat. I didn't admire that very much.

- The setting of the book had me very confused. There was little description so I didn't know what style of gowns the girls were wearing, what was the architecture like, and so on. It got very frustrating and I ultimately had to look up Jessica Day George's blog and read her "behind-the-scenes" tidbit to find out that the country in this book is a German themed place and that it takes place in the Victorian era. 

But some of the things I did notice and love...

- Galen's character. While Rose fell flat, he was a wonderful character to read about. I absolutely loved how he reacted to situations. He was such a gentleman, witty, and clever. And also kind. One of the things Galen does is knit (which I simply love) and there is a part in the book when he is knitting and thinking to himself why he likes to knit. He describes the satisfaction of creating something, instead of destroying something with a gun. I liked that even though he was a soldier, he wasn't a warrior. 

- I also really loved the magical/fantasy aspect of this novel. It wasn't a fantasy book, which meant they weren't dumping all this world building on you, but the magic was there, and it was just enough that it gave the novel a really visual and delightful effect. 

Overall, this book was good, but as I stated, there were some issues, but I think they don't prevent the novel from being enjoyed. I'm really excited to read Princess of Glass, which is the sequel and focuses on Poppy (my favorite princess!). I hope you pick this book up, and if you do, I think you will enjoy it. 


Miss Book Reader