Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Its been a while since I've done a book review. But today I just feel like it, which is funny, considering I'm not in love with this book.

"Beastly" by Alex Flinn, is very much geared toward a specific audience. That would be passionate, socially current, fashion minded, emotionally charged, young people. All of which I am most definitely not. I take that back. I am most assuredly emotionally charged (post-partum anyone?) but not the teenage angst type of emotionally charged, which powers a lot of this book.

This novel is a new and current take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. An arrogant young man is caught in his bad behavior and cursed by a witch. His curse is that his outward appearance match his inner self, which is beastly to behold. And thus starts the young man's journey to discover a truer and more pure heart. As is expected in a retelling, all the ingredients of the original story are there. The castle, the roses, the household help who stand by him and, of course, a young lady with a pure heart who sees through his exterior beastliness.

The fun of the book is in the current surroundings. High school, New York, subways, dances and modern dialogue. I appreciated how the author took the opportunity to show other ugly (or beastly) parts of society as well, beyond just the young man. It kind of made me realize how ugly begets ugly to some degree and perhaps he was somewhat a sum of his surroundings. I was somewhat put off by the amount of teen angst and that most of it was centered on physical desires. It was not horrible and pretty nit-picky of me to even mention it. In fact, I probably wouldn't mention it if the characters were older, but I guess I'm over sensitive to teens thinking that the crushes they have in high school are the ultimate, most passionate relationships they will have. (Don't get me started on Twilight.)

It was a quick book to read, but definitely geared toward a younger generation than me. Nevertheless, I was interested throughout and really cared about what happened to the young man. And the ending was satisfying. 3 STARS (out of 5)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5 Keys to do the some.

I just finished reading "Keys to the Demon Prison" by Brandon Mull. It is the 5th and final book in the FableHaven series. And believe me, it did not disappoint. Kendra and her brother, Seth, are off on another exciting adventure trying to stop the plot of the Sphinx, who wants to open the demon prison. He claims he will be able to control the demons. But that seems pretty arrogant to me. Controlling demons? Yeah, right.

Anyway, we soon find out that there is a lot more at play here than just the Sphinx and Kendra and Seth. The scope of good vs. evil is much more broad than that. Soon enough, the 5 keys to the prison are changing hands all over the place and new pieces to the puzzle are found that make things interesting.

One thing I love, and have loved since the first book, about Brandon Mull's writing is that he doesn't just bring you to the edge of a cliff and then resolve the crises. He falls off the cliff and you wonder how could that have just happened and what in the world are they going to do now? He's not afraid to have his characters make major mistakes and then the fun is in resolving it.

This series was so much fun to read. As is his other book, "Candy Shop Wars." If you don't have time for a 5 book series, try "Candy Shop Wars."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bubba, the Cowboy Prince

I thought I'd review a picture book today for Book Worm Wednesday!
Bubba the Cowboy Prince, a fractured Texas tale.
Written by Hene Ketteman.

I absolutely loooove this book. And so do my kids. I've always loved to read re-makes, re-writes, if you will, of fairy tales. And this is a great take on Cinderella. Only this time, the poor soul with wicked "steps" is Bubba, a ranch hand. This story comes complete is fun illustrations, wild west sayings and is particularly fun to read outloud with a western drawl. Its as fun to read as it is to listen to.

I completely agree with this excerpt from "Childrens Literature" taken from the Barnes and Noble website.

"The text is full of outrageous Texas-size sayings, such as "darker than a black bull at midnight" and "another ten dollar Stetson on a five cent head." The paintings are brightly colored and fanciful, with wonderful perplexed expressions on the rest of the cattle when the fairy godcow shows up. Great fun and a wonderful twist on the Cinderella story."

You really need to read this book!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

I finished reading "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, about a week ago. I found this book to be so inspiring -- awe-inspiring as well as motivational. Greg Mortenson is motivated by the simple belief that all children, everywhere, should have the opportunity to gain an aducation. More specifically, that girls should have that opportunity - for it is through women that communities are educated and are able to make true social progress. But Greg Moretenson doesn't seem to do things the easy way.

His book relates the long and detoured path he takes in establishing schools in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Perhaps to the credit of his co-writer, David Relin, his experiences read like a novel and keep the reader interested in each new development or roadblock. The individuals Greg works with and the areas he visits are described in a way to bridge the distance from Pakistan to the U.S. so that we feel like we are sharing a cup or two of tea with them ourselves.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Great passage

I've been reading "A Long Fatal Love Chase" for bookclub this month. What kind of trashy romance-addicted, froo-froo, shallow bookclub do I attend, you ask? Its actually a great bookclub and this novel is not trashy. In fact, it is written by Louisa May Alcott. She wrote it a couple of years before "Little Women." It was actually deemed "too sensational" to publish when she originally wrote it and was later discovered by this current publishers in 1993.

Anyway, it was a fun romantic thriller to read well written. I feel compelled to record one of my favorite passages. It is set after the hero and villain fight and the hero wins. The following is a description of the hero.

"Few men had ever conquered Tempest in anything and he felt
superior to most; but this man surpassed him in strength, skill,
courage and magnanimity, for, hard as he was, Tempest still felt the beauty
of a generous act, a noble word.

"Ignatius had conquered in love and war;
had borne insult meekly for himself,
had avenged it manfully for another,
had given compassion for contempt,
and having won the victory generously spared his enemy."

But the story is far from over at that point and Tempest is not so changed as he may seem at that moment of defeat. So if you want a good romance thriller to read during the Valentine season, this is a good pick.