Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 19th Edition

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.


"Darius stepped back, horrified that she was searching him, remembering what she would see.
     'You are like a man suckled by wolves, strong, hungry, but hunched on all fours, with a tongue twisted in confusion.'"- Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson

"She was a little overwhelmed by all the help she had received that night from goblins. There was something deeply wrong in these unnatural monsters rallying around her, if only because the most urgent help she needed was some means to escape them." - The Hollow Kingdom, by Clare B. Dunkle

"IT raised IT's eye ridges. 'Many who neither shape-shift nor eat people are disliked and feared. Our king for one.'" - A Tale of Two Castles, by Gail Carson Levine

"It seems everyone but us knows who he is. And it's clear that he's the puppet master behind all this." - The Warlock, by Michael Scott

"'Don't be foolish,' Querida snapped. 'Demons are immortal.'" - Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones

Happy Tuesday! Any thoughts on the new format?

A Tale of Two Castles

by Gail Carson Levine
Start Date: 28 May 2011
End Date: 28 May 2011
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 10th 2011

Summary (from Goodreads):
Mysteries abound, especially in Two Castles.

A handsome cat trainer, black-and-white cats, thieves on four legs and two, suspicious townsfolk, a greedy king, a giddy princess, a shape-shifting ogre, a brilliant dragon. Which is the villainous whited sepulcher?

Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner—an actress—but luck is against her. She is saved from starvation by the dragon Meenore, who sends her on a dangerous mission inside the ogre's castle. There, disguised as a kitchen maid at an ogre's feast, she finds herself cast in the role of a lifetime and pitted against a foe intent on murder.

Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine weaves an entrancing tale of a fearsome ogre, a dragon detective, and a remarkable heroine, who finds friendship where she least expects it, learns that there are many ways to mansion, and discovers that goodness and evil come in all shapes and sizes.

My Review:
I really enjoyed reading A Tale of Two Castles. Fun and lighthearted while staying engaging, it stayed glued to my hand for most of Saturday, and I finished it before the day was over. I was a little worried when it arrived because the inside cover recommends the book to ages 8-12, but I was delighted and refreshed at the story. I tried to explain to a friend just why I liked it, and I didn't quite manage it, but I ended up with that it has the innocence and lightheartedness of a middle grade book while keeping the complexity of plot and the lyricality of writing to keep me engaged.

The revelation of the villain was pleasantly surprising, and although I read a review that said it would be obvious to anyone over 10 years old, I actually had no clue who it was until Elodie figured it out. (I must not have been looking very hard.) Also, I felt totally comfortable in the world of Two Castles, which is a little bit unusual - in most other books I find I either have to ease my way in or be totally immersed; in this one I felt so comfortable with it that I could easily slip in and out as I picked up the book. I loved all the characters as well - Elodie was a wonderful heroine, just naive enough that we could be at the same place, but not so slow that the reader got bored; Meenore was great and I found IT very funny; even the king was a great character. The cast was small enough that no one was flat at all - I thought that every one of them could have a book of their own.

There were a couple of things I thought for sure would be wrapped up nicely at the end that weren't addressed (for example, whether Meenore was a Master or a Mistress) but by the end of the book, I felt so satisfied with what was wrapped up that I didn't need it anymore (in fact, by the end of the book I was wondering how I ever found the word Mastress strange). Also, I never felt totally satisfied with the way Celeste was forgotten about - there seemed to be more story there. (Spoiler, highlight to view)

Of all Gail Carson Levine's books, this one reminded me the most of Ella Enchanted, which I regard as her best book by far. While I enjoyed Fairest and liked Ever well enough, Ella Enchanted is always the one that stuck by me, and I'm glad that Two Castles has the same feel. 

By the way, I just found out that HarperCollins is releasing two of Gail Carson Levine's older books, Ella Enchanted and Ever with new covers that match the cover of Two Castles. What do you think? I like the old cover of Ella Enchanted, but all three of these are beautiful. I think Ever is especially improved, and I just love the cover for Two Castles.

cover pictures courtesy of A Backwards Story

Also, the blog linked above has a wonderful review of A Tale of Two Castles as well, which you can read here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

October Releases

So many great books are coming out this fall, I had to talk about a few of them. I couldn't possibly talk about all of them, so I decided to do it month by month. I'm starting with October even though it's in the middle of fall rather than September or even August (because that's got some good ones too) because of the Son of Neptune cover that was just revealed this week (see below). These are the October releases that re at the top of my to-read list, in chronological order. Let me know if I'm missing any.

October 4
Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune

Click to enlarge (I got a REALLY big picture, you will want to enlarge)

Summary (from Goodreads): 
In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Who are the other four mentioned in the prophecy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea...

My thoughts:
I didn't love the first book in the series (see my review here), but I'm definitely going to be picking up the second if only to see some of the characters I actually care about (Percy, Annabeth, Grover - because the Son of Neptune is obviously Percy).

I actually think I've figured out who the seven are from the prophecy.
1. Jason
2. Piper
3. Leo
4. Percy
5. Percy's new friend from Rome Camp #1
6. Percy's new friend from Rome Camp #2
7. Annabeth OR Nico

As for the cover, I really like all the ice and how Percy is bursting up out of it. I also like the crumbling buildings (although I can't tell if they're actually Greek or if they're Roman using a Greek facade - yep, that's me being a classics geek) and I'm pretty sure there are people falling out of them, but I can only see them if I zoom in really close, at which point they get all pixelated so who knows.

A lot of people are wondering what the eagle is, but I'm pretty sure it's what I call an SPQR Eagle Stick, or the official name is an Aquila (just the eagle part) or a Standard (the whole darn stick). They were used in Roman times as part of each legion. Every legion would have one person whose entire job was to carry around the SPQR Eagle Stick which was one of the things that identified them as being part of the Roman army. I couldn't find a good picture of one, but here's an illustration of what one would have looked like:
The thing about this SPQR Eagle Stick is that it's got glowing eyes so it must be a magic SPQR Eagle Stick. Plus it's all lightning-y.

The one thing that bugs me about this cover is that Percy is all wet. As the Son of Neptune, he's not supposed to get wet. Unless he did it intentionally, which would be weird because he'd be freezing in that water. Anyway, other than that one minor detail, I love the cover and I am very excited to read to book, even though I don't necessarily have that high expectations for it.

October 11
The Death Cure

Click to Enlarge

Summary (from Goodreads): 
Thomas knows that WICKED can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What WICKED doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what WICKED says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

My thoughts:
This one I do have high expectations for it. Very high expectations. The first two were great, although, as my brother says, "kinda creepy." And - strange coincidence - this one also has snow and ice, and it looks so cool. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen, and I don't really want to know either. I am planning to dive in blind and enjoy it as much as I possibly can. I shall devour this book, and I just hope not everyone dies. But even if they do, James Dashner is going to make it so awesome that I'll realize it was the best possible way for it to turn out.

October 11
Tris & Izzie

Click to Enlarge (this one is also really big if you choose to enlarge it)

Summary (from Goodreads):
A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

My thoughts:
I've actually never heard of this fairytale before, but I love fairytale retellings even when I'm not familiar with the original tale (e.g. Book of a Thousand Days).  I also enjoyed Mette Ivie Harrison's The Princess and the Hound books, and this seems like it will be just as good. The premise is intriguing, and I'm interested to see what Harrison will do with it.

I really like the cover of this one, if only the boy (who I can only assume is Tris) had a shirt on. For goodness sakes, why they couldn't do that is beyond me. Other than that, I love the cover. The girl is great, the petals are great, the water is great (although it did take me a ridiculously long time to figure out that they were actually in a boat and not randomly floating on the water), the text is great - I really have no other complaints. Very excited for this one.

EDIT: Mette Ivie Harrison did a review a little while ago on Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing where she talks about Tris & Izzie (as well as her other books) that I really liked. You can read it here.

October 27
New Edition Forest Born

Summary (from Goodreads):
Rin has always been a quiet, helpful girl, but a secret has been eating away at her, and the solace Rin once could find among the tall trees that surround her forest home has vanished. When she leaves home to join her older brother in the city, she finds intriguing answers to her questions, an adventure she doesn't expect, and a sense of self she never thought she would find.
For fans who want to complete their collection of the Books of Bayern, this new edition hardcover features art by Alison Jay, whose stunning illustrations graced the covers of the three original Bayern Books. A reading ribbon marks this as a perfect gift edition for any Shannon Hale fan.

My thoughts:
Forest Born was wonderful, as all Shannon Hale books must be, and I'm excited for the new cover. It's so beautiful. For more of my gushing about this cover, click here.

Are there any other October Releases you are excited about?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 18th Edition

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.


"'We have taken possesion of you, granddaughter to an enemy, a traitor guest. An old debt must be paid.'" - Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson

"All this while, Mr. Crossley was trying to give 6B a geography lesson. He had gotten to the point where he was precious near giving up and giving everyone detention instead." - Witch Week, by Diana Wynne Jones (from The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume II)

"They crossed to the enormous trees, now black in their own deep shadows, and slipped between them to find the path again. It took some time before they hit upon it in the meager, dappled starlight." - The Hollow Kingdom, by Clare B. Dunkle

"He and Mrs. Baldock eyed each other down the length of the table. Everyone's heads turned from one to the other like people's at a tennis match." - Conrad's Fate, by Diana Wynne Jones (from The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume III)

"'Don't you try to put me off, Joss Callow,' Grammer interrupted. 'I've told you to fetch me Joe here and I mean it.'" - The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones (from The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume III)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Judge a Book by Its Cover - Heroes of the Valley

Today I wanted to look at the different covers of Heroes of the Valley, by Jonathan Stroud. Click any of the covers to view a larger version.




4. French Edition

5. Indonesian Edition

The first cover is the one I have at home, and I particularly like it because it has elements of the story, a unique illustration style (that I think has to do with the time period - please correct me if I'm wrong), and I like the overall design. Also, it doesn't try to scare me, but once I've read the story I can see some of the darker elements. I'd say this is my favorite cover of the bunch. This cover would make me want to take this book off the shelf.

I don't really like cover #2. It feels like a movie tie-in (although I'm pretty sure there is no movie), and the Trow hands are so creepy. Not that I would know it was a Trow anyway unless I'd read the book. The font also makes me think of a movie-tie in cover. However, I do like the design behind the text and how Halli is so small compared to anything else on the cover. And I just noticed he's on the rock (from the Battle of the Rock), which makes me happy :D. But again, that's a reference no one would get until they've read the book.

#3 is great. I really like it. The only thing that bugs me is that even though I've read this book several times, I have no idea what the cover is trying to depict. Is it Halli? I just have no clue. But aside from that, this cover is great. It has a darker side, but it's not all about the Trows. The whole illustration is wonderful, and I really like the style of the text. And even though I usually don't love quotes on the covers of books, this one works really well, giving the potential reader a sense of what the book is about rather than simply praising it. This cover is very well done. However, I personally would be less likely to pick it up in a bookstore than #1.

#4. Well, I feel like this would be a great cover... for a different book. Why is Svein's sword chained to a tree? Where is Halli? Aud? Anything about the journey? The Trows? Anything at all?? That said, I would like to see what the story for this cover turns out to be...

I can see why the Indonesian publishers used #5, but I wouldn't pick it up in a store. On the other hand, my brother said he'd definietly pick it up. So maybe they're trying to appeal more to boys with this cover. Which would be crummy because the story has just as much appeal for girls as it does for boys (in my eyes, anyway). I do really like Halli's position on this cover, though. He looks very hero-esque. And The silhouetted Trow hands are cool too. Even though I personally wouldn't have picked this cover up from a bookstore display, I have to say, it is a pretty good cover.

My favorite: #1, closely followed by #3. (If I could just figure out what part of the story #3 is showing...)

My least favorite: #2.

What's your favorite?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 17th Edition

I'm sure at this point it won't surprise anyone that Teaser Tuesday is late yet again. I might as well just give up and call it Teaser Wednesday. This week I actually do have an excuse though. My computer is getting fixed (again) because last time it got fixed, they put in a logic board with some problem or other and I had to take it in again. Anyway, now I'm sharing a computer with my mom (thanks, mom - love you :D) and I haven't brought the Teaser Tuesday books out of my room, where I work when I'm on my own computer. (By the way, those of you who also read my other blog, The Bookbird and the Wordgirl, it also means that I don't have my writing on this computer. So you'll have to be a bit more patient for Chapter Two.) Anyway, here is this week's somewhat belated but very fun Teaser Tuesday. I've been reading some really good books this week.


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.

"She wanted to set the knobs to FitzFaeren and go slither into the cupboard downstairs to watch the dancers. She wanted to look for her grandfather." - Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson

"His face was as bleak and yellowish and wrinkled as the moors. 'Listen, Christopher,' he said, ' those folk at Chrestomanci Castle are not going to be pleased to find you've been here doing this.'" - The Lives of Christopher Chant, by Diana Wynne Jones

"'What you need to know may be very different from what you want to know. Didn't your unfortunate accident teach you that?'" - The Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan

"Whatever the reason, the argument raged. Anxious Antonio talked of going to England and cosulting someone named Chrestomanci about it." - The Magicans of Caprona, by Diana Wynne Jones

"'They ruined you for a normal life, but that's not your fault. There was nothing you could do about it.'" - The False Princess, by Eilis O'Neal

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Filter Bubbles on the Internet

I know that my blog isn't actually about this topic, but I felt that this was important enough to share. In this TED, Eli Pariser argues that what we don't see on our internet searches - from Facebook feeds to Google results - is as important as what we do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Robot Dreams

By Sara Varon
Start Date: 12 May 2011
End Date: 12 May 2011
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 7th 2007

Summary (from Goodreads):
This moving, charming graphic novel about a dog and a robot shows us in poignant detail how powerful and fragile relationships are. After a Labor Day jaunt to the beach leaves the robot rusted, immobilized in the sand, the dog must return alone to the life they shared. But the memory of their friendship lingers, and as the seasons pass, the dog tries to fill the emotional void left by the loss of his closest friend, making and losing a series of friends, from a melting snowman to epicurean anteaters. But for the robot, lying rusting on the beach, the only relief from loneliness is in dreams.

My Review:
This short and sweet graphic novel will touch anyone's heart. I picked it randomly off a shelf at my school library, not expecting much, and ended up spending the rest of my lunch period reading it. I finished it as the bell rang, and checked it out, telling myself that I needed to reread it when I got home and eventually review it here.

This is the kind of book I would love to write. Actually, if I wrote something this good, I'd consider my life complete. Very well done, Sara Varon. The simplicity of the drawings and the story combined with the emotional complexity and the universal truth woven masterfully creates a story anyone and everyone can connect to. Also, the ability to create such a clear and moving story without any words is a huge achievement.

The reader's heart will inevitably go out to both characters as the story progresses. This book does not take long to read, but you will want to pick it up again and again. Highly recommended.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More Ridiculous Reviews

I said I'd post more of these reviews when I found them. These are from Goodreads, all by the same person (whose name I have edited out so that no one looks her up on Goodreads). I haven't read any of these books, by the way. I'm pretty sure I never will.

Click to Enlarge

EDIT: Found another one.

Um.... do we get to know what those varying opinions are? For goodness sakes.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Hi there, readers.
Blogger’s been down a bit lately, so I haven’t been able to post as much in the last few days. I’ve got a couple of things I wanted to talk about and now I have to the chance to do so. Here goes!

So yesterday, we (my mom, my brother, and I) were cleaning out the back room, and I was asked to erase my story from off the board.

Yes, that one. From way back in February. To see the actual story, click here.
If any of you don’t know about what happens when something is not erased from a whiteboard for nearly 3 months, let me tell you. It sticks to the board, and takes a lot of erasing to go away. And since I had a lot of story on the board, I was erasing for a while. Which gave me plenty of time to think about how I never actually posted any edits for the stories I did for PBM. This was partially because I though people were sick of reading about PBM, and partially because I only editied one story. If you remember, I had a poll up for which stories I would revise first. The winner was Untitled So Far (about a dragon infestation and a young man who decides to do something about it) with 3 votes (42%). So I edited that in April. And here it is:

In the town of ___________, there was an infestation problem. But this wasn’t an infestation of rats, or bugs, or bees. No, this was an infestation of dragons.
[Picture: many swooping dragons, villagers running in fear, village being destroyed.]
Well, there was only one dragon really, but one dragon can be an infestation all by itself if it decides to be destructive. He could burn houses, carry off maidens, steal gold, or just be a general nuisance
[Picture: Narrator in front of frame, same pic but w/out ruined village, calm villagers, only 1 dragon]
In ________ there lived a young man named Frederick. Like many of the other residents, he was unhappy with the dragon problem. But unlike the other residents, he decided to do something about it.
[Picture: Frederick knocking on witch’s door. Forest behind, dark.]
He went to the local witch and asked for help to get rid of the dragon. Luckily, she didn’t turn him into a toad and decided to grant his request. So she gave him a sword and three gold pieces and sent him home to kill the dragon.
[Picture: Witch giving gold and sword to Frederick]
So Frederick went home, but not being the brightest young man, he gave the three gold pieces and the sword to the first youth he met and told him to go slay the dragon.
[Picture: Frederick next to youth1, pointing, youth holding sword and gold]
The youth left the next morning in the direction of the dragon’s cave and never returned.
[Picture: Youth silhouette in distance, big sky, cliffs and cave]
So Frederick went back to the witch and asked for her help again. Again she gave him three gold pieces and a sword and sent him home to kill the dragon.
[Picture: Witch looking slightly annoyed, handing over gold and sword]
But Frederick hadn’t gotten any smarter since the last time he went to see the witch, so again he went to the first youth he saw and gave him the gold pieces and the sword and told him to go slay the dragon. The youth left the next morning in the direction of the dragon’s cave and never returned.
[Picture: Youth2 waving goodbye, has backpack, big sky, cliffs and cave]
Frederick decided to go again to the witch and ask for help. By this time, the witch was getting annoyed that he kept coming back, so this time she gave him the sword without the three gold pieces, and told him to go slay the dragon himself.
[Picture: Witch really annoyed, pointing toward door]
So he didn’t bother waiting for the morning, but went that night and slayed the dragon while it was asleep.
[Picture: Frederick slaying dragon, big night sky, ground far below, hoard glitters in background, darkness except moonlight around Frederick, some light on dragon]
The next day he went to the witch to thank her. By this time she was really annoyed at him and didn’t ever want to see him again.
[Picture: Frederick bowing, thanking witch, witch angry.]
So she turned him into a toad. The end.
[Picture: Frederick as toad, "the end" in scripty writing at bottom of page.]

It obviously still needs quite a bit of work, but I think it’s a lot better than it was. Anyway, then I started thinking about illustrations. But the only dragon I drew that turned out half-decent was the one I doodled on the front of my draft of Rudolph and Isadora (one of the stories I’m co-writing on my other blog, The Bookbird and the Wordgirl), which, coincidentally, also has a dragon in it.

In other news, I read a great graphic novel yesterday that I want to write a review for in the next couple of hours.

I had more to talk about, but being silly, I didn't think to write them down, and I've forgotten everything I wanted to say at this point. If I remember, I'll edit this post and put it in.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 16th Edition

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.

"'Be careful', she said, using the French language of Joan's youth. 'Something's wrong here.'" - The Necromancer, by Michael Scott

"The early evening sky was divided. The east was as bright as at had been at noon, but the west was overflowing with charcoal clouds, flat-bottomed and towering." -Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson

"'I bet I know what the spell's for. It's so Gwendolen can have a look from time to time and see how Dear Replacement is getting on.'" - Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones

Sunday, May 8, 2011


by Edith Pattou
Start Date: 16 April 2011
End Date: 17 April 2011
Paperback, 516 pages
Published 1 May 2005

Summary (from Goodreads):
Rose has always been different.
Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose's birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home... but she can't suppress Rose's true nature forever.
So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it - in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family - she readily agrees.
Rose travels on the bear's broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart - and finds her purpose - and realizes her journey has only just begun.

My Review:
This is the best retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon that I've read so far. I really like the tale in general, and all the retellings I've read so far are great (see my review of Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow here), but this one is my favorite. There are a bunch of things I really liked about it:

First is the different points of view.  Pattou executes this admirably, using the format to its utmost advantage. It gave every character some humanity and kept them from becoming the bland, basic archetypes so easy to fall into with a fairy tale retelling. The troll queen was more than just a villain - she was just thoughtless and didn't know the extent of the harm she was causing. Everyone in the story was really trying to do the right thing; no one was evil just for the heck of it. Even Rose's mother, who kind of makes a mess of things, was just trying to protect her daughter. Also, every character had a unique voice which made it easy to tell who's point of view you're reading from (unlike some other books I've read... *ahem* The Lost Hero). The Bear's chapters were in a poetic stream-of-consciousness type style, which I didn't like if I looked at it as poetry, and did like if I looked at it as a stream of consciousness from an animal trying to retain its humanity. However, I did like Neddy (her brother)'s little poems. They made me smile.

I wanted the keep the list thing all organized, but this review didn't work when I tried to do that, so I'm just going to mention a bunch of things I liked:

  • How Pattou changed some things about the fairy tale for it to be a better story and so it would make more sense, but she kept the essence and the feel of a fairy tale.
  • The aspect of Rose learning the troll langauge with Tuki (possibly because I like languages, but I also thought those scenes were very sweet).
  • How the family doesn't just disappear when Rose leaves with the White Bear.
  • Really great characterization. I like all the characters - I think that probably what stands out the most about this particular retelling, but the story is really great too. (I could go through all the different characters and talk about what I liked about them, but I think it would be better to discover them by reading the book.)
  • And all the little details that give life and make what would be unrealistic and something you just have to accept into a magical world easy to immerse yourself in.
This book is definitely recommended. Highly.

On another note, sorry it took so long for me to get this review posted. It's been sitting half-finished on my computer for a while, but I've been crazy busy and haven't been able to take general ideas of what I wanted to mention into cohesive thoughts with actual words. But then, I'm always busy and I'm nuts enough to add blogging to my overpacked schedule, so it's not much of an excuse. I'm not even going to bother promising to get more reviews out in the future, because I've already done that too many times.

By the way, Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, 15th Edition

Teaser Tuesday is a bit late this week, sorry! I've been really busy and I totally forgot to write a post yesterday. But it's up now, so it's all good.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am doing a slightly different version of Teaser Tuesday. Since I go through books so quickly, I'm going to put a quote from any book I've read in the past week.


"What about the mechanical fan sound? he thought. He told himself that maybe the little squirrel had accidentally eaten his dad's electric shaver, but then realized he was probably one step away from the mental hospital talking to himself like this, and telling jokes at that." - The Journal of Curious Letters, by James Dashner

"With a final embrace, Tana left her mother at the neighbors' house and strode down the street. At any moment, she imagined fingers would point and voices shout 'Impostor!'" - Toads and Diamonds, by Heather Tomlinson

"I made my way around the row of kneeling candidates, all of them with their eyes closed, praying to serve the Rat Dragon. I would pray for something different: a chance to escape." - Eon, by Alison Goodman

"Seven commanders at seven gates, / Like matched against like, / They set up their trophies of bronze / to Zeus who turns battles. / Except the two filled with hate, / Born of one father, one mother: / They raised their double-slaying spears / Against each other, / And both took their share of one death." - Antigone, by Sophocles (I probably won't post any more teaser quotes from this - I'm reading it for Greek, and I generally forget or don't bother to post about books I'm reading for school.)

"[He] flicked the envelope out onto the wind. He watched it spin as it dropped to the swaying tall grass beside the barn." - Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson

Monday, May 2, 2011

Judge a Book by Its Cover - The Thief Lord

Today I wanted to compare the different covers of The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke, a favorite of mine since elementary school. Click any of the covers to view a larger version.




5. French Edition

6. Italian Edition

7. German Edition

8. Movie Cover (German Edition)

In #1, I like how all the colors are muted, and I really like the red text for the title. I would like it a bit better if the text didn't touch the buildings on the right side, but the bridge isn't exactly centered, so it would be uneven no matter what. I really like the picture (the same image is used for covers 1-3); it's my favorite image of all the covers. It has both the soft lyricality (I think I just made up a word) of the writing and the mystery of the plot. There's also something about the colors on this cover that I can't quite put my finger on that keeps drawing me in. Overall, this cover was very well done.

#2 is the (much loved) copy I have at home. On my copy (but not on the picture I found to post) both the title and the author's name are embossed, and the top says "The Enchanting International Bestseller". On this cover, I like that the image is all in shades of blue except the moon and the title. It highlights the title in a way that the first cover doesn't. I also really like the font of the title and the font and placement of the author's name.  I like that there is no quote at the bottom of this cover, although in #1, the bottom would have been a little bit empty without it.

I think #3 would look good on a hardcover, so that it doesn't seem like the letters of the title are about to be cut off the page. I don't love this cover, nor do I strongly dislike it. I don't love that it has only part of the picture, but it does look nice with the text...

#4 is definitely my least favorite cover of the English editions, and I can't decide whether it is my least favorite of all the covers - it's definitely in the running. The silver-embossed letters for the title is certainly eye-catching, but the combination of all the parts of the cover really don't work for me. If I saw this in a bookstore (or online, for that matter), I'd probably put it back on the shelf. This cover just doesn't capture the enchantment and wonder of the book, and to me it even seems a little creepy.

I probably wouldn't pick #5 as the best cover for this book, but I do really like it. It's the most playful of all the covers, and I like that Scipio is running along the rooftops in his mask. It seems like the illustrator for this cover kept "kid's book" firmly in his or her mind when illustrating it, because more than any of the others, this cover looks like it's for kids. I really like the font combined with the picture, and how it incorporates a lot of things from the story. It's got the five kids and Scipio, and the winged lion on the bridge, and of the covers, it's most obviously set in Venice (to me anyway). Although not my top choice, this is definitely one of my favorites.

#6 is on the lower end of my list. Especially compared to the playfulness of the French edition right before it, this cover seems a little bland. It doesn't make me want to pick it up and say, ooh, what's this about? The winged lion is cool, but overall I don't love the cover.

I like #7, but I feel like the illustrator or graphic designer or whoever could have done a lot more with it. I like the picture (although not as much as the picture from the first few covers), and I think the illustrator did a great job with Scipio. And I like how the color of the text matches the roofs. But the text seems a little too plain to me. I think they could have done something really cool with it, but settled for plain old (is that Times New Roman? I think it is). On a side note, I really like how the title translates to Gentleman of the Thieves. The German edition gets bonus points for that.

And now #8, the last cover. As you will find as judge more books by their covers or if you've ever been in a bookstore with me, I *ahem* strongly dislike movie covers. They drive me nuts. They drive my especially nuts if I think that movie wasn't even that great. That is the case for this cover. Putting that aside, I do like the title. Um.... I can't seem to find anything else especially good about it. Also, before I put it in the translator, I thought the red stripe at the bottom said something like, "Now a Major Motion Picture" like the ones in the United States. I almost laughed out loud when I found out it meant "extra charge with film pictures". For goodness sakes.

My favorite: #1.
#2 was very close behind, but I really do like the coloring on the first one. Honorary mention to #5 as well.
[EDIT: I changed my mind. #2 is tied with #1 for first.]

My least favorite: #8, by a long shot.

What's your favorite?


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