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Archive for August, 2009

I do have a list of my all-time favorite books that I would like to share with you!  These are books that I so thoroughly enjoyed, I have read them many times!  Now, not all of these books have been reviewed, but if we do have a review for it on our site, there will be a little star next to it!  Without any further ado, and in no particular order, my List:

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters By: Lesley M. M. Blume

The Looking Glass Wars By: Frank Beddor (Series)

The Golden Compass By: Philip Pullman

The Prophecy of the Stones By: Flavia Bujor

Princess Academy By: Shannon Hale

The Westing Game By: Ellen Raskin

Just Ella By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Tale of Despereaux By: Kate DiCamillo

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas By: John Boyne

The Phantom Tollbooth By: Norton Juster

Pride and Prejudice By: Jane Austen*

The Sisters Grimm By: Michael Buckley (Series)

Ties that Bind, Ties That Break By: Lensey Namioka

Life as We Knew It By: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Our Town: A Play in Three Acts By: Thorton Wilder

Saving Juliet By: Suzanne Selfors

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie By: Jordan Sonnenblick

The Forest of Hands and Teeth By: Carrie Ryan

The Hunger Games By: Suzanne Collins*

The Giver By: Lois Lowry*

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks By: E. Lockhart

The Da Vinci Code By: Dan Brown

Reincarnation By: Suzanne Weyn*

Enthusiasm By: Polly Shulman*

Palace of Mirrors By: Margaret Peterson Haddix*

The Midnight Twins By: Jacquelyn Mitchard

My Most Excellent Year By: Steve Kluger

Carpe Diem By: Autumn Cornwell

Austenland By: Shannon Hale

Once a Witch By: Carolyn  MacCullough

The Red Queen’s Daughter By: Jacqueline Kolosov

The Minister’s Daughter By: Julie Hearn

The Debutante By: Kathryn Williams

And that is my List so far!  But it will definitely change as I read more books and add more to the list!  Enjoy!

~Austen A.~

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I’m not sure exactly how I felt as I embarked upon the journey that this book would take me on.  Aurelia is crown princess of the kingdom of Tyralt, but someone wants her dead.  So her old classmate, Robert, comes to be her bodyguard, and ends up falling for her, and she falls for him.  Still, she decides that she doesn’t need Robert to protect her.  Aurelia is an almost overly strong character; stubborn, independent, impulsive and an amazing leader.  She didn’t have many bad qualities that I could detect, which made her seem less believable.  I found this story to be overly dramatic and intense and very much in need of a bit of comic relief.  I had to practically force myself to read this book!  The whole idea of this story seems intriguing in theory, but it was executed in a not so great way.  This book was so rife with intensity that it was almost tangible!  The revelation to the assassin mystery has a dramatic and somewhat climactic end.  The culprit was someone that I would never have guessed, and yet the ending was lacking something.  In the end, everyone’s true colors are revealed and yet Aurelia does not get the ending that she deserves.  The end left me feeling unsatisfied somehow.  There was definitely something lacking from the plot.  If you decide to give this book a try and find yourself just scanning the pages like I did, give it up, it’s not worth sticking with it to the end.

I give this book 3 1/2 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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If you read Just Ella by Haddix, then you will most likely enjoy this book, I know I did!  This book is full of palace deception, scandal, and one big secret!  Although a little unbelievable at the beginning, you get used to the whole idea that Cecilia is a princess who has been hidden away for her own protection, under the care of a knightly guardian, Sir Stephen, and old Nanny Gratine.  When she turns 14, though, Cecilia decides that it is simple not enough for her to sit about when she could be doing so much more for her country, so she and her best friend Harper set off for the capital city to confront Cecilia’s decoy, the commoner, Desmia, and take up her rightful position as leader of the country.  When they arrive, they face quite a few bumps in the road that test Cecilia’s character and morale.  I have to say that, at the point when Cecilia and Harper were locked up, she was so very whiny and weepy, all she seemed to care about was that her crown was lost and that Desmia was a horrid girl!  Very annoying!  She does rectify her actions later on in the book, multiple times.  In the end, the book takes a very surprising turn (although, when you think about it, you could kind of see it coming the entire time)  and the ending has a refreshing twist!  If you are thinking about reading this book but have not yet read Just Ella, I recommend that you read that first to become familiar with what is going on politically in the world that these girls live in and to meet a character that makes a cameo appearance in this book.  I loved Cecilia’s character, she was everything that I could want in a heroine; caring, witty, strong, courageous, with a touch of imperfection that makes her real!  I truly enjoyed this book and any fantasy buff will love this book too!  I urge you to give this book a try!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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I was very excited to read this book, and I was enjoying it as I started reading, but the farther I got into the book, the more disappointed I became with how the plot was unraveling.  Pearl was found in the sea as a child and grew up to be extraordinarily unusual appearance wise.  Her skin was virtually transparent, her hair silvery.  She suffered as an outcast from the village, the only thing that kept her sane were her weekly meetings with her best friend, a boy she had met on the beach, the prince, James.  Now, I had guessed that this was a retelling of the Little Mermaid, but the angle that the author took was completely unappealing to me.  You can tell that James was going to propose to Pearl, but then come along a mermaid and her brother and they ruin the whole thing.  The mermaid falls in love with James and the merman has been in love with Pearl forever, and all of a sudden, the four of them are tangled up in a plot to James’s father, the king.  Towards the end the whole story became very silly and I was very much sick of it!  Throughout the entire book, I had been hoping that James and Pearl would end up together, but it ended up that Pearl and the merman end up together, whereas the mermaid gets James!  I was very upset!  But don’t let this deter you from reading this book if the plot sounds interesting to you.  If you like what you hear, then I urge you to read this book, if not, then don’t read it.  My opinion, in general, is that this book was silly and took a very wrong turn and ended up as a train wreck.  But that’s just me.

I give this book 3 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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I enjoyed this book, though it turned out to be the exact opposite of what I was expecting!  This turned out to be a good thing, though!  I expected a whiny teenage girl who was forced to play music and hated it, then fell in love with a musician and discovered a hidden talent. Instead, I got a story with subtle hints at romance, a mysterious murder, and palace cover-ups, including blackmail, extortion, and shadowy visits to Gypsy camps!  Theresa’s father was killed on Christmas Eve, and robbed of his violin, convinced that there was more going on than she was being told, Theresa goes on a quest to discover the truth.  While dodging her creepy uncle who keeps setting her up with old men, the watchful eye of her godfather Joseph Haydn, she runs out Gypsy camps, learns to fire a pistol, and goes gallivanting around the sewers!  She sounds like my kind of heroine!  Although Theresa had her weak moments, she had a lot more heft and inner strength than some of the other characters that I have encountered.   I liked how the author created Theresa as a normal girl for her time as well as trying to uncover the biggest secret in the kingdom.  She has to deal with conflicting feelings of love for her father’s associate, deal with her over protective mother and her weird, old uncle, and keep the household going while her mother battles with depression after her father’s death.  It made the entire story seem all the more real.  Although I truly enjoyed this book, I have to say, the ending was not up to my standards it definitely left me unsatisfied.  Overall, though, this book was very nice and I recommend it to all who have a hunger for mystery, intrigue, music, coming of age, adventure, or just a great plot, then you should definitely pick this book up the next chance that you get!

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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I’ll be blunt, I LOVED this book!  I have to add it to my list of ultimate favorites!  This novel was inspired by Jane Austen, it’s about a girl named Julie with a best friend, Ashleigh, who is an enthusiast.  Ashleigh decides that she is now a lover of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Julie’s own enthusiasm.  Ashleigh now dresses, speaks, and acts like she is from Austen’s time.  Julie loyally, but reluctantly follows Ashleigh as she sneaks into an all-boys prep school dance.  Julie doesn’t mind so much, though, when they meet some very likely candidates, but then Ashleigh unconsciously tries to steal Julie’s own Mr. Darcy.  All of this leads to misunderstandings, awkward moments, and mysterious poetry tacked to a tree.  This light romantic comedy is full of laughing, crying, edge-of-your-seat moments!  I found that this book even echoes Jane Austen’s style in a modern way!  The characters have great chemistry, everything is well written and full of just the right amount of drama.  If you are interesting in reading this though, I suggest that you read Pride and Prejudice beforehand though, so that you have some background knowledge when the characters refer to something from the book.  You can find my review for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen on our blog as well.  This eloquent read is one that Jane herself would be proud of!  I can’t wait to read more from this author!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn was, in my opinion, a good book!  As you might have noticed by reading some of my other reviews, I am  a fan of Suzanne Weyn’s work!  This is another of those “Once upon a time…” books, this one being a twist on one of my favorite fairy tales, the Twelve Dancing Princesses.  Now, just a few books before reading this, I had read another rendition of this same tale, titled Princess of the Midnight Ball, so it was interesting to compare and contrast.  This is the story of lively Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters.  The girls’ father, Sir Ethan, has locked his daughters in their manor, forbidding them to ever leave, afraid he might loose them as he did their mother.  Rowena, though, manages to slip out and eventually convinces her sisters to sneak out and go dancing each night with her.  The other main character is part of Arthurian legend, the knight named Bedivere.  While searching for the Lady of the Lake, trying to return Excalibur, he meets Rowena and they are instantly smitten with each other.  Bedivere accepts Sire Ethan’s challenge to find out where the girls go at night and to win Rowena’s hand in marriage.  I enjoyed this book.  I don’t know that I would say it’s one of my favorites, but I didn’t dislike it.  I loved the Arthurian legends mixed in and I liked Bedivere and Rowena.  Rowena, although somewhat clever, and a tad brave, was a little too damsel-in-distress-like for me.  She needed too much saving!  I mean, I like a female heroine with a bit of a vulnerable side, but she can’t be in need of a guy to constantly come in and save her.  She was a bit annoying.  I have to say that even though I really did like this book. Between the two that I’ve read based on this tale, I liked Princess of the Midnight Ball much better, but then again, that’s just my opinion.  If you think this one sounds more interesting, don’t read the other instead, just because of what I’ve said!

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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