January 22nd, 2011

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Book #4

Title: Before Midnight a Retelling of "Cinderella"
Author: Cameron Dokey
Genre: YA fiction
Pages: Paperback, 193
Published: 2007
First Lines: "What do you know about yourself? What are your stories? The ones you tell yourself, and the ones told by others."

"Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does no reveal.

"The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.

"When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are."
-Jacket copy



Thoughts: I got this book from my sister-in-law as a Christmas gift a few years back. While searching for clothes to put in the wash, I ended up uncovering this little treasure. I love retellings! In fact, this make me want to go back and read Robin McKinley's books!

While reading this, I was reminded of Ever After. By no means is it the same story, but they share some common elements. For example, Cenderillon's relationship with Raoul is similar to her relationship with the stable boy in the movie. When her shoe is returned by the prince, it is strikingly similar to the scene at the end of the film. This did not detract from the book. Being a retelling, it will have similarities, and Dokey made the story her own.

It was a new and refreshing version of Cinderella. I liked how Dokey chose to portray the stepmother and her daughters. It was definitely a new twist! This book was a delight to read, it went very fast, and it left you satisfied. My only problem was that the conflict was too short and too neat. I wished there was more intrigue at the end. The author mentioned that there was a whole political battle taking place amongst the royal family. I would have liked to see that played out a little more. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. I'm looking forward to reading the others in the Once Upon a Time series.

Rating: 5/5
Currently: Ravena & the Resurrected
Pages: 1557
Current Progress:
4/50 books


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Books 4 &5

The Pinhoe Egg, Diana Wynne Jones
Summary: There are families of sorcerers and sorceresses of sorts, and they do not get along. The recovery of an ancient heirloom threatens to propel the long-standing, passive-aggressive conflict into a tangible, dangerous one. There are flying machines, moody horses, and griffins. It's an all-around fantastical and fun time.

This book was well-written and compelling. Flying makes me nervous and reading the bulk of this book on an airplane distracted me and kept me calm. That's saying a lot. The characters are wonderful, and the humor is delightful. My only complaint is that I read this immediately after another book by Diana Wynne Jones -- Howl's Moving Castle -- and that one is a lot better. This is a great book compared to books in general. As for a Diana Wynne Jones novel, it is definitely enjoyable but not her best.
9/10

Moloka'i, Alan Brennert
Summary: A young Hawaiian girl contracts leprosy. After a probationary period, she is exiled to Moloka'i-- an island where the government quarantines leprosy victims.

This is an amazing book. It's easily one of my favorite books. Of course, it is an emotional book. There are a lot of deaths-- which I don't consider a spoiler given the nature of the disease. It's really heart-breaking at times, but I was amazed at the number of times it is also uplifting and heart-warming and just made me feel a greater sense of peace and well-being. I felt really close to its characters -- especially the protagonist Rachel -- and their welfare. There was a bit of the novel where I even felt somewhat maternal feelings for Rachel, and I was proud of all that she accomplished in the circumstances. (That maternal feeling passed when she grew much, much older than I am now. Haha.) It was an excellent, compelling story.

Also, this is a piece of fiction-- but it's based on historical events. I was kind of ashamed about how little I knew about leprosy and the measures that used to be enforced to prevent the spread of the disease (many of these measures being excessive and stemming from a lack of understanding and knowledge). It was really eye-opening. I learned a lot. My copy has a useful appendix called "learn the history" which helped distinguish fact from fiction.
10/10
nerd gohan

5–6/50

Title: A Wind in the Door
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Pages: 224
Rating: 3.5/5
Book: 5/50

I read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid and enjoyed it, but I didn't get around to the rest of L'Engle's Time series because I was a much bigger fan of her Austin family books. (A Ring of Endless Light is quite possibly my favorite book of all time – it's certainly my most frequently read.) A Wind in the Door is the second book in the Time series, taking place no more than a year after its predecessor. Once again L'Engle mixes her interest in science with the fantastic, this time bringing Meg, Calvin, and a handful of new companions into Charles Wallace's mitochondria to fight off the forces that threaten him and the balance of the universe. I wasn't completely hooked, but L'Engle definitely has a gift for creating unique beings, and Meg Murray is a very human protagonist with flaws to which the reader can easily relate.

Title: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray
Pages: 480
Rating: 4/5
Book: 6/50

This book sounded absolutely nuts to me, especially taking Bray's other work, the Victorian boarding school fantasy Gemma Doyle trilogy, into consideration. Not a bad kind of nuts, mind you, but nuts enough to make me wait til I was in the right mood before making an attempt at it. And now that I've finished it, I'd say it's even crazier than I imagined. Going Bovine is the story of Cameron, an uninterested sixteen-year-old who finds out he has mad cow disease and, following a message from a punk angel, sets off on a road trip to find Dr. X (who can supposedly save him) and also save the world. A crazy yet surprisingly sweet journey. I'd say it's better crafted than Bray's Gemma Doyle books, but I probably won't come back to it as often as I do those because I feel more strongly toward those characters than Cameron and co. Still, an entertaining read and proof that well-crafted teen lit is out there.


6 / 50 books. 12% done!
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Books #1-3 of 2011

Got off to a slow start this year but my 1st 3 reads were all brilliant :D

#1- "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris
I was previously only aware of the movie adaptation of this but I found I enjoyed the book more. I particularly like the 1st person perspective for each Character.

#2- "The great Shark Hunt" by Hunter S. Thompson
A Compilation of Thompson's columns. Some repitition if you've ever read the likes of "Fear and loathing on the campaign trail '72". I really love his style of writing and turn of phrase, the situations he was part of and people he met make him one of the most fascinating reads ever.

#3- "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis
The first person narrative of Patrick Bateman ranges from incredibly distrubing to obcenely detailed to pitiable. It's hard to describe this book and why it's enjoyable but I highly recommend it to those who enjoy a bit of ambiguity and gore :D
After reading this I really want to read both "Rules of Attraction" and "Glamorama"
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