This is absolutely gorgeous. Between the obvious links to a television show that shall remain nameless, the delightful knitted mice, and the writing,...moreThis is absolutely gorgeous. Between the obvious links to a television show that shall remain nameless, the delightful knitted mice, and the writing, which made me giggle on every page, it's absolutely priceless.
I do rather wish that knitting patterns for the mice were included, but I rather hope that I will be able to work out how to crochet them eventually. :-)
Meanwhile, I strongly hope that there will be more Mouseton Abbey books on the way.(less)
Sometimes you come across a book and as silly as it seems, you just need to read it. And a magical skating fairy boarding school book? Is totally that...moreSometimes you come across a book and as silly as it seems, you just need to read it. And a magical skating fairy boarding school book? Is totally that sort of book for me.
Emily loves to ice skate, but her parents are not well off, and if she's lucky, she can skate once during each school holidays. During the current school holidays, there simply won't be either the time or the money. But while out in the yard, pretending to skate, Emily is carried off to the Magic Land of Ice and Winter, and Madame Letsworth's Magic Ice-Skating Academy. No time will pass in the real world while Emily and a number of other human girls are at the Academy, and no one will miss them. But they will have time to practice their skating, learn how to cross-country ski, and take on various challenges, the winner of each challenge being given a beautiful new pair of skates.
I love ice skating, but most of my chances to try it were when I was in the US over winter, which was not entirely as much as I would have liked. And so I found so very much to enjoy in these books. (Also, it's a boarding school story. With elves and fairies and ice dragons.)
I came across these books by mistake, when they were returned my my library instead of the one to which they belong. Now I'm determined to read the rest of the series, just to find out what happens to Emily and her friends - and of course, to discover who is named the Ice Princess at the end of their six-week stay in the Magic Land, and what the special task is that the Ice Princess will be required to carry out.
These are series books, aimed squarely at girls, but there's nothing objectionable here. Girls are encouraged to be active, to be intelligent and to love the out of doors. (And I love the description of just how "difficult" cross-country skiing is - as someone who loves x-c skiing and used to compete in it.
It's not White Boots, but then, nothing is. It's not even The Ice Mountain (another favourite). But it's a gorgeous series about skating, and I'm looking forward to reading more.(less)
Looking at my AWW list, I have at least five other books (beyond this one) that I want to review before I finally wrap up and say goodbye to the chall...moreLooking at my AWW list, I have at least five other books (beyond this one) that I want to review before I finally wrap up and say goodbye to the challenge for 2012 (and get stuck into the 2013 challenge). But I'm going to start at the end with the book I finished this afternoon: Jane Caro's book about Princess Elizabeth, Just a Girl.
Disclaimer number 1: While I really like Jane Caro's public stance on a lot of things, I got into a twitter tiff with her earlier in December, and there were things in the book that reminded me of other attitudes of hers I have issues with. Except where I mention these issues, I've tried very hard to keep my discomfort with the author away from my review of the book.
Disclaimer number 2: I read a fair amount of Historical Fiction, and am pretty much over Princess and Queen Elizabeth I.
It strikes me as a bold move to write ones first novel about a woman so often written about as Princess Elizabeth Tudor. I'll say at the outset that I think this book was better than Alison Weir's travesty of a novel, but not as good as Philippa Gregory's "The Virgin Queen". I haven't yet read Jean Plaidy's Tudor books, so I can't give a comparison there. As I said above, I'm kind of over Elizabeth. She gets written about so often, both in non-fiction and fictional treatments. She has plays and films and I keep reading them (watching them), but to be honest, if this one hadn't been by Jane Caro (who we saw at this year's Write Around the Murray) and if I hadn't needed a quick-ish read to finish off the AWW 2012 challenge, I might not have picked this one up for a lot longer.
It's an interesting structure, all this thinking on the night before Elizabeth's Coronation as Queen. Except for the one element that Caro made up, I know my Elizabeth well enough that nothing is all that new. It just seemed to me that none of the characters lived in the way that they do in Gregory's books - neither Thomas Seymour nor Philip of Spain really seemed all that threatening or skeevey, whereas in Gregory they're that little bit oily. Elizabeth's insecurity next to Jane Grey was an interesting element, and yet Jane was a complete shadow, as was Robin Dudley, sadly. Overall, I wanted it to be better than I felt it was.
One thing kept throwing me out of the story: each time one of Caro's characters - particularly Elizabeth herself - preached religious tolerance. I found it sad that Caro's characters could manage what she has not been able to herself (she's fond of insulting the mere concept of being a person of faith, or certainly it seemed that way at Write Around the Murray and on Twitter,) particularly when I think her depiction of Elizabeth's tolerance was a little broader than it was in reality.
As with another recent read, if Goodreads had half stars, I'd be making use of them here. It would be 3 1/5 stars if it could be, but I just couldn't bring myself to up the level to four.(less)