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I truly enjoyed this book and I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it as well, if you like legends, that is. Now, I’m not talking about Greek Gods and mythology type things, but Arthurian legends, stories and myths of Camelot! Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell tells of the famed Elaine of Ascolat, Lady of Shalott. Stories have been told, paintings and poems created in her name since the day s of King Arthur. In this book, though, 16 year old Elaine is a fiery young girl, a true tomboy, thought of only as a little, lovable sister by all of the men in Arthur’s army camp, where she lives. I love Elaine’s character! She is a classic heroine, a girl who is truly underestimated by all, but who is stronger than any could ever imagine! She wants to be seen as more than a silly, little girl by Lancelot, one of Arthur’s knights, but then Gwynivere, Arthur’s bride-to-be, is introduced, and her delicate, feminine looks, mannerisms and dress make Elaine look like a ruffian. The two girls are at each other’s throats until they are put into a life or death situation. The two must band together to escape the clutches of their captives and warn the army of the looming danger! This book is not only a great adventure story, but a story about coming of age, growing into your skin, true love, loss and heartbreak and friendship. Teen girls can relate to Elaine because we’ve all had a first crush and we’ve all had our Gwyniveres to deal with, but this book will help you realize that your own Gwyn might not be so bad after all! So if you like what you’ve read, I urge you to read more of Elaine’s valiant journey and her encounters with cold-hearted Gwynivere in Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell. I’m positive you won’t regret it!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: 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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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’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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The book Reincarnation, was one that I thoroughly enjoyed!  This book explores the idea of soul mates and true love.  I found the story idea very refreshing, it is very creative.  I found it fun to follow the main characters’ stories and the development in their relationships between each other and their own personalities.  These two souls travel from one time to another, crossing paths and realizing that they’d met before.  With each new life they gain a new characteristic and their feelings for each other grow.  Although there are some very close calls, each is ruined with the tragic end of one or the other and a dispute over a mysterious green gem that has forever come between them.  This book is filled with awkward, intense, comedic and tragic moments.  I laughed, cried, held my breath and sat on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading this book.  Once I started reading, I literally, did not stoop until I had finished!  I highly recommend this book for both girls and boys!  It is sappy, sad, and romantic at some points, yet it’s also full of action, historical references, and fascinating coincidences.  This title is definitely going on my list of Best Books!  I urge you to pick up Reincarnation today and start reading!  You will not be disappointed!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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This book, Sunlight and Shadow, was a book that I do not want to read again.  Based on Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, this book started out well.  The character interaction was interesting, the story line was moving at a good pace, and the whole idea seemed truly interesting!  Mina is the daughter of Sarastro, Mage of the Day and Pamina, Queen of the Night.  mina was born on the longest night of the darkest month of the year.  Mina grew up with her mother, never aloud to be seen by her father until he stole her away at age sixteen to choose her suitor.  Her mother was furious and lured in a prince and convinced him to rescue Mina in return for her hand in marriage.  After reading about all of the characters’ histories for more than one third of the book and then finally getting to the actual plot, I was not so sure about how this book would turn out anymore.  Sure, it made many valiant attempt to redeem itself, but it failed.  Horribly.  The end of the book was definitely not what I had hoped for!  The climax of the book was very cheesy, sappy and rushed.  The back of the book describes a great quest that Mina and her prince embark on, but the book spends less than one fifth of the book on this fantastic adventure. I don’t really recommend this book to anyone who has something else to read.

I give this book 3 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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