Friday, February 20, 2009

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

“When a woodcutter’s daughter known simply as “the lass” agrees to accompany a great white bear to his castle, she believes she has made a wise decision. After all, the bear has promised her family untold riches in exchange for a year of the lass’s company. Although she is given every luxury, the lass feels more a prisoner than a guest, and it’s not long before her contentment turns to unease. One by one the servants disappear, and the lass suspects the bear knows more than he is telling. In her quest to learn the truth, the lass unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that take her on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world, to fight for the man she has only just discovered is her true love.”

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had the opportunity to live in Norway for a summer so when I heard that this book was based on an old Norwegian fairytale (East of the Sun, West of the Moon) I couldn’t wait to start reading. Norway is truly a magical place, it was so easy to slip into the book and imagine the small cottage “the lass” lived in and also the palace out in the middle of a snowy nowhere. The story is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, but very unique in its own way. The Lass and her faithful companion Rollo are endearing and although she makes mistakes along the way, causing more harm than good, you are always rooting for her and Isborn (the polar bear prince) to somehow find a way to be together. The reason why our heroin is known simply as “the lass” is because her mother basically didn’t love her; she was tired of having kids and decided not to give her ninth child a name. Early on she is eventually given a name, which we don’t find out until the end. Throughout the book it talks about her name or lack thereof so much that I thought something important would happen when she finally reveals her name…nope. Although that was a little disappointing it didn’t take away from the magic of the book. I loved it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fairytale!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

“When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats -- but the fragile peace is about to fall apart. Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home.. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland’s uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.”

After reading and loving the Hunger Games I decided to see what other books Suzanne Collins had written, which is how I came to read Gregor the Overlander. I really enjoyed the story, even though I hate bugs, it was a great read. It reminded me of “The Hollow Kingdom” or “City of Ember” and probably a few others, where it consists of people who live underground. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not see the Sun or the Moon. Gregor is a great character, very believable and I loved his little sister “boots”. I wasn’t sure how a two-year-old would work in an adventure story, but she was very cute and lovable. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

Book One: Gregor the Overlander
Book Two: Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Book Three: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Book Four: Gregor and the Marks of Secret
Book Five: Gregor and the Code of Claw

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl

“Her name is Alexandria Aurora Fortunato, and she is lovely as the dawn. But that is only one of her problems. There’s also the matter of those three magical gifts of treasure bestowed on her by a mysterious old woman. King Claudio the Cruel wants to marry her for her beauty and her wealth, and so does his rival, Prince Edmund of Dorloo. That’s two more problems. Worst of all, she is locked up in a tower, with a grille of iron bars and several hundred tons of stone between her and freedom. Clearly the only thing to do is escape-- and that’s what Alexandria does, aided by her twelve darling goose companions.”

The past few times I have been at the library I have seen this on the suggested reading shelf; I liked the cover but never really stopped to look at it. Finally, I decided I would see what it was about, after reading the inside cover I decided to check it out. It is definitely meant for younger audiences, but I thought it was a fun quick read. It has a nice fairly-tale feel to it and the story was cute. I liked our heroine Alexandria, but was disappointed in Prince Edmund. At first he is portrayed as goof, and unfortunately that doesn’t change throughout the book. There were a few loose ends that weren’t quite tied up and the only other thing that bothered me was how many times the author used the word “Twas”, which drove me crazy. Other than that, if you are looking for a quick, lighthearted read than this is a great choice. I couldn’t help imagining if I had a daughter I could read this with, I think it would be a fun book to read with your children.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlaying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sexteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger siseter, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead beafore--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love."

Wow! I loved this book. The story was great and I loved the main characters. I thought the main idea of the book was a bit distrubing, but it was writing extremly well. You really end up rooting for Katniss and Peeta. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down, I HAD to keep reading to see what would happen. At the beginging I thought I knew about how it would end, but I was actually surprised. The love story is fun, I totally fell for Peeta, but also am curious about Gale. There will be a very interesting love-triangle for the second book. The second book comes out in September, I can't wait! This is a great read and I recommend it to everyone!

Book One: Hunger Games
Book Two: Catching Fire
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