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Archive for March, 2009

I loved the book Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock!  A fantastical book about a girl locked away in a tower after being orphaned by her evil aunt, Queen Sophia.  Princess Benevolence or Princess Ben is starving and miserable up in her tiny closet of a room.  But during her confinement, she stumbles upon a secret room and gains magical powers!  Her lessons consist of walking through walls, learning to fly and duplicating herself!  All while trying to act, dance, and speak like a princess and attend royal balls and banquets!  And she might even manage to save her country from not only war, but chaos from a classic beast!  This is a fun filled story with lots of surprising twists and turns!  If you have read any of my other reviews, you can tell that this is definitely right up my alley!  Magic, adventure, evil queens, unlikely love and an amazing main character!  Ben is a great female main character, I think, because she is definitely not perfect and embraces that fact, she is witty and sarcastic, and has talent that, when unleashed, is amazing!  I would recommend this book to all fantasy-loving readers, boys and girls, and even to those who tend to shy away from fantasy might enjoy this book!  What are Ben’s magical powers?  Will Ben save her country?  What kind of beast might she best?  Read Princess Ben to find out and I think you will definitely be satisfied with what you read!  I know I was!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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After reading and thoroughly enjoying Isaacson’s book about Albert Einstein, I was particularly eager to read this earlier book about Ben Franklin.    While Isaacson’s style of writing is very user-friendly, I found this new subject a bit harder to invest myself in.  I confess, I don’t really  know why I found this book a bit harder to get into and to get through.  It is not as though the subject matter is any less interesting to me.  Perhaps the fault lies with me, the reader.  Maybe I was expecting something different.  And perhaps it only suffers in comparison to the Einstein book.  Who is to say how I might feel had I read them in reverse order. 

That being said, I do not want to lead anyone into thinking that I did not enjoy this book or it’s subject. I enjoy the way Isaacson does not sugar-coat his subject matter.  We learn all of the truly remarkable things that Franklin accomplished in his long and prolific life, but we also learn of his character faults.  This makes the man seem more real, albeit, sometimes a bit less likable.  A truly great statesman, Franklin was, at times, selfish and hypocritical.  But then, who of us isn’t?  This is what made him human and thus, more interesting.  While still a young man, Franklin formed many of the ideas and opinions that he would steadfastly hold to for his entire life.  He never, even in his most advanced years, lost his sense of child-like curiosity.  He enjoyed surrounding himself with young people and those with strong opinions.   Some of Franklin’s greatest gifts were his sense of calmness and his willingness to compromise.  These two traits served him well as one of our nation’s founders.  During the very volatile time of the country’s founding, Franklin played a pivotal role in bringing together all of the many varying ideas and tempestuous personalities.  Isaacson’s book does a wonderful job of laying out the life of Franklin and the birth of our nation, both within the context of each other.  This was an enjoyable book about a brilliant and tireless man.  A man who was quintessentially American.

I give this book 3.5 bookmarks.

Reviewed by:       Anna

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I must admit, fellow readers, that I felt a little betrayed when I first started this book.  I picked it up, because it looked like a rousing historical journey, something akin to the Da Vince Code.  But as I began to read, I felt as though I had been tricked into reading another vampire story.  Not being one to quit a book once started, I read on.  And I am glad that I did.  The payoff was, indeed, a Da Vince Code – like story, which takes the reader through Communist Eastern Europe of the recent past and the mysterious, vague boundaried Eastern Europe of the distant past.

The book tells the story of an academician and his reluctant hunt for his friend and mentor, who seems to have been abducted by Dracula himself.  While on this journey, our hero meets and falls in love with a mysterious woman.    We learn the story as he tells it, in installments, to his teen-aged daughter.  Jumping back and forth in time from the present to the past, when the abduction actually occurred, we slowly learn that the story isn’t just in the past, and it isn’t quite over.   Filled with interesting characters, good and bad, suspense, drama, romance and adventure,  Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, is worth the time  is will take to read it’s over 900 pages.  I recommend this book to any who like adventure and history.

I give this book 3.5 stars.

Reviewed by:     Anna

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